Page last updated at 17:03 GMT, Thursday, 18 November 2010

PM quizzed by MPs over spending review

The prime minister has described leaks about the government's defence review as "worrying" during his first questioning by the House of Commons liaison committee.

Giving evidence on 18 November 2010 he said that leaks "don't help" and added to "public pressure" during budget talks.

He told the committee of senior Commons backbenchers that the MoD did seem to have "had a bit of a problem" with leaks - adding that this was "worrying when it is the department responsible for security".

Labour chairman of the Public Accounts Committee Margaret Hodge asked if Mr Cameron would be looking for further cuts, if planned savings could not be made. She said only 40% of planned "value for money" savings made in the last comprehensive spending review were made .

Mr Cameron said the government was "not planning for failure" and the savings had to be achieved.

Labour MP Anne Begg, chairman of the Work and Pensions Committee, challenged Mr Cameron on changes to housing benefit. The government plans to cut housing benefit by 10% to people on Jobseekers' Allowance for more than a year.

She said it was possible someone could apply for many jobs but "with the best will in the world" remain unable to find one - "That would be the first time in welfare history in this country where sanctions are being brought against someone who has done everything the government has asked of them."

Mr Cameron said the idea was to "sharpen the incentives to work" and said 90% of people on JSA got a job within a year and the government's "work programme" would help the others to do so. He said none of the changes were "easy" but everyone accepted that the housing benefit bill had to be tackled.

The committee is made up of chairs of all the Commons select committees and holds twice-yearly sessions with the prime minister.

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