Asked about reports in the press this morning regarding the possibility of discussions with the Taliban, the Prime Minister s Spokesman (PMS) told the assembled press that the position on this was the position we had held for some time. Despite some rather breathless reporting this morning, David Miliband and Douglas Alexander were not saying [...]
Put that there had been a Select Committee Report published at the weekend suggesting that the Government would talk to moderate elements of Hamas, the PMS said that our position on this was longstanding; we did not talk to Hamas directly. The military wing of Hamas was prescribed in the UK as a terrorist organisation [...]
Asked if the Government was in favour of insurance companies taking over welfare payments, the PMS said that the Government was in favour as a general principle of working with the private sector in the delivery of our welfare reform, but on specifics it would be best to talk to DWP. Asked about the Treasury [...]
Asked if the Prime Minister was on holiday, the PMS replied that the Prime Minister was in his constituency and would be in his constituency for some time. He remained the Prime Minister and would continue to be briefed on key issues such as Swine flu, the economy and Afghanistan, but as we were saying [...]
Asked about Yvette Cooper s comments about an additional bank holiday, the PMS said that there were a number of proposals to have additional bank holidays and this was something we continued to look at. There were arguments in favour, but of course they needed to be balanced alongside some of the economic considerations as [...]
Asked if the Prime Minister still had confidence in Trevor Phillips, the PMS said that he did. Trevor Phillips was recently re-appointed and the position there was that the Commission was entering a new phase; there was some restructuring taking place and the number of Commissioners was being reduced. There were a number of key [...]
Put that Harriet Harman had said that the decision of whether to raise VAT was under review whereas the Chancellor had said yesterday that it would rise in January, the PMS replied that he thought words were being put in Harriet Harman s mouth; she had been speaking in much more general terms, but the [...]
Asked if the Prime Minister thought that banks were charging small companies too much, the PMS said that the Prime Minister certainly thought that there were some issues that needed to be looked at, both in terms of bank charges and the volume of lending. We had recapitalised the banks and we had also engaged [...]
Asked if it was inevitable that the Government would have to re-nationalise the rail network, however slowly, the PMS replied that he wouldn t characterise it in those terms. There was a particular issue with one of the franchise holders and we had taken action to deal with that in order to ensure continuity of [...]
Alan Milburn’s Report
Asked about proposals for school vouchers, the Prime Minister s Spokesman (PMS) told the assembled press that we had not commented on the specifics; there were more than 80 detailed recommendations. We would have to look at each one of those very carefully, but in terms of the general conclusions of the report, this was [...]
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