§ Mr. Chidgey
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much his Department spends on biking press releases to(a) hon. Members and (b) other individuals or groups, each time his Department issues a press release; how many such press releases were issued by his Department (i) in the period 1 May to 1 July and (ii) in the period 1 January to 1 March; and if he will review his Department's use of couriers to deliver press releases and investigate the possibility of using fax or e-mail. 
§ Mrs. Liddell
[holding answer 17 July 1997]: The Treasury uses various distribution methods for its press releases including fax, postal deliveries, and online databases. The Treasury does not bike press releases to Members of Parliament or individual groups. Press releases are distributed by post to hon. Members and other individual groups on request. Press releases are also issued to the Parliamentary Online Information Service which can be accessed by Members. Treasury news releases are widely accessed via our World Wide Web site on the Internet.381W
The Treasury issued 34 press releases in the period from 1 May to 1 July 1997 and 22 press releases from 1 January to 1 July. As part of our distribution mechanism, the Central Office of Information send press releases to media organisations on our behalf to ensure that they receive releases promptly. The cost of biking releases to COI is £5.95 (excluding VAT). It is not possible for our service suppliers to provide a separate breakdown of the cost of delivering releases to the media. However, the Treasury reviews these services regularly to ensure that the most cost effective delivery mechanisms are used at all times.