§ Mr. Lansley
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many press officers are employed in the Cabinet Office; and how many were employed in(a) 1996–97, (b) 1997–98 and (c) 1998–99. 
§ Mr. Stringer
The average number of press officers in post in the Cabinet Office Press Office in 1996–97 was seven; 1997–98 was 10.2; 1998–99 was 12.3 and in 1999–2000 was 16.7.
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 number of full-time press officers employed over the year was five.