§ Mr. Lansley
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many press officers were employed in his Department in(a) May 1997, (b) January 1998, (c) January 1999 and (d) January 2000; and what the total expenditure on press officers by his Department was in each of the years concerned. 
§ Mr. Paul Murphy
From 1994 until the start of the National Assembly in July 1999 the Welsh Office Press Office had between eight and nine press officers. The Wales Office employed two press officers in January this year.
The cost of the Press Office was £319,000 in 1996–97, £318,000 in 1997–98 and £370,000 in 1998–99. Because there were only two press officers in January 2000, in the interests of confidentiality I am unable to disclose salary costs for this year.