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No. 10 Afternoon Press Briefing From 10 Dec 2007


Briefing from the British Prime Minister's Spokesman on: EU Summit, Pensions And Misc.

Afternoon Press Briefing from Monday 10 December 2007

EU Summit

Asked whether the Prime Minister would be attending the EU Summit in Lisbon, the Prime Minister's Spokesman (PMS) told the assembled press that there had been no update since Friday, which in turn hadn't been much of an update from Thursday. The difficulties surrounding the timing of the event had already been set out and a definitive answer had not yet been reached. Asked if the Prime Minister was unlikely to go, the PMS replied that there were certain difficulties in trying to go to both the summit and the Liaison Committee but that people should not read anything into the possibility of the Prime Minister not attending the EU Summit. The Prime Minister as Head of Government negotiated the treaty and would want to sign up to it.

Asked how long the Prime Minister would be before the Liaison Committee, the PMS said it was a matter for the Liaison Committee but from recollection, it would be for a minimum of two hours. Put that the Liaison Committee were being inflexible, the PMS replied that she wouldn't agree with that characterisation of the Liaison Committee.

Pensions

Asked to clarify the nature and scale of the divisions within Government over the issue of people having lost their pensions through no fault of their own, the PMS replied that she did not recognise the description of the situation on pensions. There was an examination underway into the most effective way to compensate and benefit those who had lost their pensions. It was being taken forward by Actuary Andrew Young, whose findings would be considered carefully and an announcement would be made in due course. There was a need that everyone in Government recognised, to balance the desire to provide as much help as possible, with the Government's duty to the taxpayer. The PMS reminded people that the Government had already allocated large sums of money to people who had lost their pensions.

Misc

Asked for a date for the National Security Bill and was it likely to be in this session of Parliament or after Christmas, the PMS said that people would have to wait and see but as much notice as possible would be given on timings.

Asked when the picture of the former Prime Minister was likely to be put up on the staircase at No10, the PMS said that she did not have an answer to the question, as she was not sure how long such things traditionally took.

Asked for details on the paper being published by Peter Hain on Thursday on welfare reform, the PMS replied that it was an update of the situation and further implementation. Asked for an update on Peter Hain's welfare, the PMS said he was fine.

Asked if the Prime Minister had had any visits from the police, the PMS said that he hadn't. The Government would let people know if the Prime Minister had been interviewed but also, we needed to respect what the Prime Minister had set out in his letter to the police, about allowing the investigation to continue without a constant commentary.

Put that a report published today on Farepak had revealed that people who had lost £40m this time last year would not get compensation before Christmas this year and could the PMS confirm that, the PMS replied that she was not in a position to confirm the reports, but the Government had spoken previously on the issue and she referred people back to that position.

ENDS

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