» Thursday, November 17, 2005


Asked if the Prime Minister had chosen whether there was going to be an increase in taxes, or if people would have to work longer, or if people would have to save more as the answer to the pensions crisis, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) told the journalist that it was better to wait until the 30th November when the Turner Report was published, and then we would give our response. As the PMOS had said this morning, the important thing was that no-one should rule anything in or anything out at this stage.

Briefing took place at 7:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

Investment Climate Facility

The Prime Minister's Official Spokesman (PMOS) advised journalists that the Prime Minister would be meeting business leaders today to discuss African business and trade issues and to encourage support for the new Investment Climate Facility. He would announce that we would be contributing $30 million to the Facility over the next three years. Shell and Anglo American had each announced $2.5 million over five years. We were seeking support from other governments and multinational companies.

Briefing took place at 7:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)

PM visit

The PMOS informed journalists that the Prime Minister would be visiting Yorkshire this afternoon. He would visit a Sure Start Centre and would also meet around 50 young Muslims. Paul Goggins and Hilary Benn would also attend the event.

Briefing took place at 7:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)


Asked what the Prime Minister's view was about the selection of abilities in schools, the PMOS said that as we had expressed this morning, there would be no return to the 11 plus, and what the new White Paper actually did was to strengthen the procedure under which the adjudicator could intervene. The adjudicator's rulings in future would apply for three years, not one year as at present.

Briefing took place at 7:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)


Asked for a reaction to the various media stories today regarding the conclusions of the Turner Commission on Pensions, the PMOS pointed out that the Commission had not yet published its report and we were therefore not going to rule out any options at this stage. Asked if the Prime Minister would accept that it would be more difficult to persuade people to work until the age of 67 in return for a more generous state pension, the PMOS repeated that it was important to wait for the report to be published at the end of the month. In the meantime, nobody was ruling anything in or out. People should exercise a little patience.

Briefing took place at 7:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)


Asked for a reaction to suggestions that the Prime Minister viewed the successful passage of the Education Bill as a "de facto show of confidence" in his leadership ability, the PMOS said that he had no intention of getting drawn into a hypothetical discussion. It was important to focus on the substance of the issue, not speculate about the process. The Prime Minister viewed the Education White Paper as a way of building on the education reforms we were already establishing. At its core was a determination to raise standards in all our schools, particularly those in deprived areas. That was what the Education Secretary, Ruth Kelly, would continue to set out to colleagues and the public, as indeed she was doing today in her speech to new Head teachers at the QEII Conference Centre. We were seeking ways to personalise education in order to help people catch up. We were also introducing tough new measures to tackle the problem of discipline in the classroom.

Briefing took place at 7:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (0)


Asked why Cabinet had met in Admiralty House this morning, rather than Downing Street, the PMOS said he could see that the change of location was clearly a source of excitement for the Westminster Village. However, there was a very simply reason for the change. Admiralty House had been refurbished recently, and having a Cabinet meeting there this morning had provided an opportunity for Ministers to have a look at what had been done. Asked how much the refurbishment had cost, the PMOS referred journalists to the Cabinet Office Press Office for a reply.

Briefing took place at 7:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (2)

ID cards

Asked for a reaction to Stella Rimmington's comments about ID cards, the PMOS said that Ms Rimmington had been a private individual for quite some time and, as such, was perfectly entitled to her view. He drew journalists' attention to a document on ID cards published by the Home Office in June 2005 entitled "Benefits Overview" which stated, "The security services have identified a number of benefits, which will enhance the protection of the UK against threats to national security. In outline these are: enhanced support to organised crime and terrorist investigations; tracking of serious crime and strengthening border security; improved enforcement of money laundering regulations".

Briefing took place at 7:00 | Read whole briefing | Comments (3)

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