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Special Advisers

Volume 401: debated on Thursday 20 March 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many (a) special advisers and (b) press officers have been employed by his Department in each year from 1994–95 to 2002–03; and at what cost in each year. [92476]

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Twickenham (Dr. Cable) on 23 July 2002, Official Report, column 1038.The Department for Work and Pensions was formed on 8 June 2001 from parts of the former Department of Social Security, parts of the former Department for Education and Employment and the Employment service. Information on costs for 1994 to 2001 is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. The Department currently employs 16 (£1,065,233) press officers. A further 13 (£671,702) press officers work in the regions (England, Scotland and Wales) providing specific advice on local services that are now being rolled out.Last year the Department employed 21 press officers at a cost of £816,725. The cost for 2002–03 is a forecast spend for the whole year and includes the total staff costs in press office and regional network, including admin, staff.