HC Deb 22 February 1999 vol 326 cc167-8W
Mr. Don Foster

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will list(a) those units in his Department and (b) the number of departmental staff which are concerned with preparing rebuttals of allegations in the media; and what is (i) the total cost of their work, including salaries, and (ii) the number of rebuttals issued since May 1997. [71855]

Mr. Timms

In common with other Departments, the work of press officers in this Department includes responding to any misinformed allegations concerning Government policy or activity which are published in the media. They are supported in this work by other officials as necessary.

As this is a routine part of a Department's work and it is not separately recorded from other tasks, to provide the further information requested would involve disproportionate cost.