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Press

Volume 474: debated on Thursday 24 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what the cost of the press offices of (a) her Department, (b) its agencies and (c) its non-departmental public bodies each year was in 1996-97; what the cost was in each quarter since 1 April 2007; and if she will make a statement; (189671)

(2) how many press office staff were employed by (a) her Department, (b) its agencies and (c) its non-departmental public bodies (i) in each year since 1996-97 and (ii) at the latest date for which information is available.

The Department for Transport was created in May 2002. Records of costs from 1996-97 until 2001-02 are not readily available owing to departmental and agency re-organisations and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Figures for NDPBs and quarter year figures could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

(1) The cost of DFT Central’s press office (including pay and non-pay costs) for the years 2002-03 to 2006-07 and forecast for 2007-08 is as follows:

£ million

DFT(C) pay

DFT(C) non-pay

2002-03

0.85

0.81

2003-04

0.70

0.80

2004-05

0.70

0.83

2005-06

0.77

0.76

2006-07

0.88

0.67

2007-08

0.84

0.67

The non-pay costs include media monitoring, use of Central Office of Information’s Government News Network and all other direct external costs attributed to press office operations.

Press office activities in most agencies are not carried out by staff or units solely dedicated to this purpose. Full records of costs are therefore not readily available for press office functions alone. However, agency press office function pay costs have been estimated for the years 2002-03 to 2006-07 and forecast for 2007-08 as follows:

Staff £ million

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

DSA

0.04

0.06

0.06

0.06

0.06

0.06

DVLA

0.14

0.15

0.18

0.19

0.19

0.14

GCDA

0

0

0

0

0

0

HA

0.21

0.22

0.23

0.27

0.30

0.36

MCA

0.08

0.09

0.11

0.15

0.15

0.15

VCA

0

0

0

0

0

0

VOSA

0.02

0.02

0.04

0.04

0.04

0.04

(2) The full-time equivalent number of staff employed on press officer activities from 2002-03 to 2007-08 is as follows:

Staff FTE

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

DFT Central

12.7

13.8

13.8

13

14.6

13.8

DSA

2

2

2

2

2

2

DVLA

7

7

7.5

7

7

5

GCDA

n/a

n/a

n/a

0

0

0

HA

6

6

6

6.8

11.1

12.2

MCA

2

2

2

2

2

2

VCA

0

0

0

0

0

0

VOSA

1

1

2

2

2

2

DFT agencies

18

18

19.5

19.8

24.1

23.2

DFT total

30.7

31.8

33.3

32.8

38.7

37.0

The Highways Agency recruited regional press officers in 2006 and 2007 to support its new role as a network operator and in particular the introduction of the traffic officer service which took over many police functions in managing motorway incidents.