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No. 10 Morning Press Briefing From 8 Nov 2007

Briefing from the British Prime Minister's Spokesman on: Inheritance Tax, Defence Spending and the President of the Czech Republic

No. 10 Morning press briefing from 8 Nov 2007

Inheritance Tax

Asked if there would be any papers released today relating to Inheritance Tax, the Prime Minister's Spokesman (PMOS) replied that obviously this was a matter for the Treasury so best to check with them, but his understanding for guidance was that this was the case. They would be responding to an existing FOI request.

Put that the Prime Minister had said that he considered Inheritance Tax, and asked if he had considered Non-Doms being taxed as well before the Tories announced it, the PMS replied that we had had a long standing agenda in relation to so called Non-Dom Res. We had announced a review and a number of measures as far back as the Budget 2002, if he recalled correctly.

Asked if a levy on Non-Doms had been considered, the PMS replied that again that there were a wide range of measures in relation to Non-Dom Res that had been considered and were kept under review for many years.

Put that Non-Doms had been reviewed for many years, and the conclusion reached was that there was not very much we could do, the PMS replied that this was an ongoing review, and the Treasury would have details.

Asked for a date when it was decided that something could be done to increase the levy on Non-Doms, the PMS replied that there were well established procedures for asking these questions to the Treasury.

Put that the Prime Minister's answer on Tuesday struck people as somewhat mercurial, and was this explained by the fact that he knew there was a pre-existing FOI request, the PMS replied that he did not believe that the Prime Minister had any particular FOI request in mind. He was making the general point that he was very confident in his position that this measure had been actively considered ahead of the Budget in March, and had been considered for some time in advance of the Pre-Budget Report.

Asked to clarify the Prime Minister position, and did he consider changes to Inheritance Tax but rejected them, the PMS replied that the Treasury would be releasing some material on this shortly, which would make the situation clearer.

Asked if he was confident that the documents would prove that the Government planned to include this statement in the PBR, or that they proved that the Government was considering this matter, the PMS replied that it was not a question of being confident or not, it was a fact. The Prime Minister asserted that in the House of Commons on Tuesday.

Defence Spending

Asked if the Prime Minister had any response to the request for an increase in defence spending, the PMS replied that there had been quite a significant increase in defence spending. This meant that there would be an additional £7.7 billion over the Spending Review period by 2011. This continued the longest period of sustained real growth in planned defence spending since the 1980s. Defence spending had increased in real terms each year since 1999.

President of the Czech Republic

Asked what would be discussed at the meeting with the President of the Czech Republic, and would climate change come up, the PMS replied that they would discuss a wide range of issues in relation to European and other matters.


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