Did strikes have impact? Downing Street doesn't think so

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Police officers protesting outside the Houses of Parliament. Photo: Press Association

The Prime Minister's spokesman has said today's strikes were "unnecessary" but that the "impact has been limited". He said the situation at the borders was managed well and without delays.

He also confirmed there is a pool of people that the Government can call on who can step in to help - set up ahead of the Olympics.

But it's clear Number Ten is unhappy about the unofficial strike action taken by prison officers. The PM's spokesman said it was unlawful to strike.

I asked him whether the Government was listening to the 35,000 or so police officers who were protesting across Central London over cuts.

I was told that it reflects the difficult financial situation, which means having to cut public expenditure in a number of areas, including police.

But he added that he thought the police have the resources they need to do the job properly. As usual there are disagreements over the number of people out on strike.

The Government says there are just over 102,000 civil servants - down from last November. But the Public and Commercial Services union says the figure is more like 200,000 and that the Cabinet Office numbers are 'totally inaccurate'.

The union still believes the total number of public sector workers involved in industrial action today is around 400,000.