HC Deb 31 January 2003 vol 398 cc1050-1W
Mr. Laws

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many(a) special advisers and (b) press officers have been employed by his Department in each year from 1994–95 to 2002–03; and at what cost in each year. [92428]

Mr. Alexander

As has been published on previous occasions, the overall number and cost for Special Advisers across all Departments is:

£ million
Number Cost
1995–96 38 1.5
1996–7 38 1.8
1997–8 70 2.6
1998–9 74 3.5
1999–2000 78 4.0
2000–01 79 4.1
2001–02 81 5.1

In order to protect the privacy of the individuals concerned it would not be appropriate to break down the cost by Department. As at 21 January 2003 there were 81 special advisers across all Departments. The cost for 2002–03 is not yet available.

The number of press officers employed from 1997–98 to 2001–02 and their costs in each of these years are as follows:

Number of press officers1 Cost per financial year
1997–98 11 453,636
1998–99 14 512,255
1999–2000 20 752,560
2000–01 16 781,817
2001–02 18 798,015
1Employed in the Cabinet Office press office in January of each year.

Financial and Human Resource information for periods prior to, and including 1996–97 is not held on the Cabinet Office's new databases and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

The figure for 1999–2000 includes press officers specifically employed to manage the genetically modified foods communications unit which operated from the Cabinet Office from July 1999 to March―April 2000.

The Cabinet Office currently has nine press officers. The relocation of resource on reduction in numbers is due to the creation of the new Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. The cost for Cabinet Office press officers in 2002–03 is not yet available.

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