HC Deb 25 March 2004 vol 419 cc983-4W
Mr. Laws

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport 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. [162847]

Mr. McNulty

I refer the hon. Member to my answer to the hon. Member for Truro and St. Austell (Matthew Taylor) on 9 March 2004,Official Report, column 1410W, that provided information for the financial year 2003–04.

In 2002–03 there was an average of 12.7 full time equivalent (fte) press officers employed with related salary costs of £0.51 million in DfT(C), covering the 10 month period from the creation of the Department in late May 2002.

Information for each of the financial years between 1997–2002, when transport policy formed part of the remit of the former Departments' of Environment, Transport and the Regions and Transport, Local Government and the Regions, is not available in a comparable format.

Detailed information on the numbers of permanent press officers employed in departmental press offices, including the former Department of Transport (DoT) for the financial year 1996–97, was provided in a memorandum dated 16 June 1998 to the Select Committee on Public Administration and published in its report on the Government Information and Communication Service (HC 770) in July 1998 (http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm199798/cmselect/ cmpubadm/770/77002.htm).

Comparable staffing figures for the former DoT (central) between 1993–94 to 1995–96 are:

1995–96 20
1994–95 17
1993–94 19

The salary costs of these staff can be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Comparable information for earlier years is not available.