§ Mr. Lansley
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many press officers were employed in her Department at(a) May 1997, (b) January 1998, (c) January 1999 and (d) January 2000; and what was the total expenditure on press officers by her Department in each of the years concerned. 
§ Marjorie Mowlam
The total expenditure on press officers in the Cabinet Office Press Office in the financial year 1997–98 was £453,646; 1998–99 was £512,255—the total to date for 1999–2000 (until the end of January) is £590,394
The number of press officers in post in Cabinet Office Press Office at May 1997 was 12, January 1998 was 11, January 1999 was 14, and January 2000 was 20.
In addition, a dedicated press office was set up in March 1999, to co-ordinate Government media activity on the Year 2000 Millennium Bug problem. The Unit was set up by the President of the Council. The total expenditure on press officers in the Unit in 1998–99 was nil. The total expenditure on press officers this financial year, for 1999–2000 is £156,961.
No press officers were employed in the Unit in January 1999. Five press officers were employed in January 2000.