To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people are employed in his Department's press office; and how many were employed on 2 May 1997. 
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 of 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.
The Department currently employs 15 press officers. A further 15 press officers work in the regions (England, Scotland and Wales) providing specific advice on local services that are now being rolled out.
For the year 1997, I refer the hon. Member to appendix 11 of the Report on GIGS by the Select Committee on Public Spending (28 July 1998) where Appendix 11 lists the number and cost of press officers per Department in 1997, 1998 and 1999.