§ Mr. Laws
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many press officers were employed in his Department in each year from 1990–91 to 2003–04; what the total cost was in each year; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Maria Eagle
The Department for Work and Pensions was formed on 8 June 2001 from parts of the former Department of Social Security, the former Department for Education and Employment and the Employment Service. Information on costs for 1994 to 2001 is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. At the end of March 2004, the Department employed 20 national press officers at an annual cost of £1,146,255. This included three part-time staff. A further 20 press officers worked in the regions across England, Scotland and Wales at an annual cost of £954,500.
During 2002–03 the Department employed 16 national and 13 regional press officers, at an annual cost 856W of £1,739,935. The total for 2001–02 was 21 national press officers at an annual cost of £816,725.