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Press Office, 10 Downing Street

Volume 928: debated on Friday 18 March 1977

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asked the Prime Minister further to his Written Answer to the hon. Member for Louth, Official Report, 28th February, column 71, why it was necessary for three officers to be employed to do the work of two previous officers; why it was necessary for there to be some temporary double banking of officers at the time of the change of administration; by how much salaries were increased; and what were the increases in employers' national insurance contributions.

Staff levels vary from time to time to match the work load; for instance, as the hon. Member will have noted from my reply to him of 17th February, there are now fewer staff employed in the No. 10 Press Office than at any time between 1970 and 1974. Temporary double banking is also sometimes necessary to enable staff changes to be made without any loss of efficiency. Salary increases were paid as permitted by year one of the counter-inflation policy. Employers' national insurance contributions were raised on 6th April 1976 from 8·5 per cent. to 8·75 per cent. and the limit up to which contributions are payable was raised from £69 to £95 a week.