» Monday, October 6, 2008


Put that bank shares had been in freefall this morning and asked if any of that could be attributed to the speculation about a recapitalisation scheme, the Prime Minister s Spokesman (PMS) replied that it was not for him to provide market commentary, and the Government was not going to speculate on possible policy options.

Asked if this was a possible policy option, the PMS replied that the Government was not going to speculate on policy options.

Asked what the Government s view was on what Angela Merkel meant, the PMS replied that as the Treasury had been making clear this morning, our understanding of the situation was that the German Government would not be bringing forward legislation for a legally binding guarantee on bank deposits, but it was really a matter for the German Government to explain their position.

Asked if the Prime Minister was disappointed that on Saturday in Paris there were pledges for unified cooperation in the European Union, and then Chancellor Merkel went off in her own direction, the PMS replied that we had been in the process of seeking clarification from Germany on exactly what they had announced and committed themselves to, but this was clearly a fast moving situation. Events were moving quickly yesterday in Germany in relation to the rescue plan for Hypo Bank, and it was understandable that in those circumstances individual nations would want to make announcements that they felt were right for them at that particular time.

Asked for more details on discussions at the National Economic Council (NEC) this morning, the PMS replied that the Chancellor would update the National Economic Council on the current market situation, and there would also be a discussion on what the Government was doing to work with our international partners on this crisis. The Prime Minister among others had spoken in the last 24 hours to the Prime Minister of Iceland, the Managing Director of the IMF, he spoke to President Sarkozy this morning, and to the Prime Minister of Denmark, and the Head of the European Central Bank, we were in very close contact with the German authorities, and of course those discussions were as intense between Finance Ministers with the Chancellor in touch with his colleagues as well. So there would be a discussion about the international situation and its impact on financial markets this morning, and there was also likely to be an update of the situation in the housing market from Hazel Blears, Ed Miliband would also update the NEC on the situation in energy markets.

Asked for more details on the Regional Economic Council, and if the Olympic Village would now have to be nationalised due to the credit crunch, the PMS replied that he had nothing to add on the subject of the Olympic Village, it was best to check with the Department for the latest position. Details on the Regional Economic Council were set out in the press notice issued on Friday. The Regional Economic Council which would report into the NEC would be chaired by the Chancellor, would meet on a quarterly basis, and would include Regional Ministers as well as the Heads of the RDAs and representatives from both the CBI and the unions. The main role of the Region Economic Council was to make sure that during this difficult economic period, all Government action in particular the work of the RDAs, was fully focused on ensuring that businesses, particularly small businesses, could deal the best they could with the impact of what was happening in the financial markets.

Asked if there would be any announcements this afternoon in the Chancellor s statement, the PMS replied that it was best to wait for the Chancellor s statement this afternoon, but the main purpose of the statement was that this would be the first opportunity that he would have had to update the House since it returned.

Asked that now we had clarification of the German s position in regard to savings protection, were we happy that their position did not in any way make life awkward for us or would force a change in policy, the PMS replied that we would have to examine the details of the German position and no doubt they would be providing further details in the period ahead. For now our position was that we were closely examining the details of exactly what they had announced.

Asked if Germany gave any warning before making their announcement, the PMS replied that he was not going to get into specifics of communications between our Government and our colleagues and friends in Europe, but obviously this was a very rapidly moving situation yesterday and it was clear that the Germans had to make the announcement they made at very short notice.

Asked if the Prime Minister had spoken to Chancellor Merkel, the PMS replied that the Prime Minister was planning to speak to Chancellor Merkel later today.

Asked if the Prime Minister would be voicing displeasure at Germany s decision, the PMS replied that he was not going to brief on the content of the telephone call before it had happened.

Put that the situation with the Hypo Bank had been going on since last week and surely the whole point of Saturday s meeting was to say that Government s would act in a more coordinated way, and at the very least take account of the spin-off effects on EU countries, the PMS replied that of course international cooperation was very important and that was why in the last 24 hours as had been the case in the last few weeks, the Prime Minister and the Chancellor were spending a lot of time on the phone with their international colleagues as people would expect. We continued to urge cooperation at both the EU and at international level, but we did have to recognise that these were very fast moving situations, we were dealing with financial markets, and occasionally decisions had to be made very quickly.

Asked for the Prime Minister s view on Ireland guaranteeing savings without speaking to others, the PMS replied that we had been over this ground a lot during the course of the last week. The position at the moment was that the European Commission was looking at this.

Asked if our assessment was right that the German Chancellor had given an oral pledge that nobody would lose money but that this was not backed by legislation, and was that not the same as we had in this country, the PMS replied that he would leave the interpretation to the press, our position was set out very clearly, most recently by Yvette Cooper on the radio this morning.

Asked if speculation by the opposition on recapitalisation schemes had driven down bank shares this morning, the PMS replied that it was not for him to comment on anything that the opposition had said, nor to engage in any sort of market analysis.

Asked that given the Government did not speculate about policy, would be helpful if the nobody speculated about policy, the PMS replied that he was spokesman for the Government and could only speak on behalf of the Government.

Asked how long the National Economic Council meeting would last, the PMS replied that it would last as long as it would need to last.

original source.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news

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