Tuesday 2 March 2010

Morning press briefing from 2 March 2010

Briefing by the Prime Minister’s spokesman on: Cabinet, Falklands, Warm homes, Greener homes and misc


The Prime Minister’s Spokesman (PMS) said that there was an update at Cabinet this morning from the Foreign Secretary on the Falklands in which he emphasised that self-determination for islanders was the key issue.  He said that we had a strong ongoing working relationship with Argentina.

The Prime Minister updated Cabinet on Afghanistan and that Operation Moshtarak was going well.  He said that this was a combined military, police and civilian effort, and it was important to continue to work closely with President Karzai. 

Tessa Jowell commented on the industrial action to be taken by the PCS.  Five out of the six civil service unions agreed with the savings package put forward by Sir Gus O’Donnell and the Senior Civil Service management, but the PCS had voted against so as a result there would be some industrial action.  Yvette Cooper said that we were confident that disruption would be kept to a minimum. 

Ed Miliband spoke about the Government’s “Warm Homes, Greener Homes” strategy and emphasised that this was a joint initiative with John Healey and John Denham.  There were three elements to the package announced today; firstly, the national financing of home improvements; secondly, there would be devolution of power to local authorities; and thirdly, by 2015 all private sector housing would have to contain the appropriate insulation.  We expected there to be 65,000 jobs created through these schemes by 2020.


Put that Hilary Clinton had said yesterday that she was willing to be a facilitator in the Falklands dispute, the PMS said that we welcomed the support of the Secretary of State in terms of ensuring that we continued to keep diplomatic channels.

Warm Homes, Greener Homes

Asked where the money and jobs would come from for the “Warm Home, Greener Homes” strategy, the PMS said that the strategy proposed “pay as you save” green finance loans to help with the upfront cost of measures like insulation and clean energy generating kit, which would be through regulated financial services organisations.  In terms of jobs there had been an announcement by a leading energy company last week about the creation 1,100 jobs in their insulation business, so this was an area where new jobs could be created, as it was a growing market.

Asked where the banks would get the money from to loan to people, the PMS said that banks would provide the loans in the same way as usual; they would look at the proposition and make a decision as to whether it’s something they would want to lend to.  


Asked if the Prime Minister had any views on the BBC’s review, the PMS said that Ben Bradshaw had commented on this; it was for the BBC to determine its own strategy in respect of the future of their services.

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