§ Mr. Loughton
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment. Transport and the Regions, pursuant to the Cabinet Office memorandum of 16 June 1998 to the Select Committee on Public Administration, published in its report on the Government Information and Communication Service, Session 1997–98, HC 770, and using the same methodology, if he will calculate(a) the total cost of his Department's press office, including salary and running costs, in (i) 1998–99, (ii) 1999–2000 and (iii) 2000–01 and the estimated cost for 2001–02 and (b) the total number of people employed in the press office (excluding staff providing general administrative support) in 1999–2000, and the projected estimates for (1) 2000–01 and (2) 2001–02. 
§ Ms Beverley Hughes
[holding answer 17 July 20001: The costs of the Department's media centre (formerly press office) from 1995–96 are as shown in the table:
Staff numbers Total running costs (£ million) 1995–96 36.0 1— 1996–97 26.1 1.09 1997–98 26.3 1.04 1998–99 30.2 1.29 1999–2000 38.3 1.55 2000–01 38.2 1.61 2001–02 37.0 21.61 1 Costs are not available 2 Estimate
The costs (staff salaries only) are consistent with those for 1996–97 and 1997–98 given for the Department, and former Departments of Environment and Transport, in the memorandum dated 16 June 1998 to the Select Committee on Public Administration and published in its report on the Government Information and Communication Service (HC 770) in July 1998.
The figures are based on the average staff in post (up to and including 1999–2000) and projected average staff in post for the subsequent years.
The increase in staff from 1998–99 to 1999–2000 reflects the filling of vacancies at that time and the need to respond to the recommendations of the Mountfield report on the Government Information and Communication Service (1997).