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Press

Volume 475: debated on Friday 9 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the cost of the press offices of (a) his Department, (b) its agencies and (c) its non-departmental public bodies was in each year since 1996-97; what the cost was for each quarter since 1 April 2007; and if he will make a statement. (189661)

A return on the number and cost of press officers in the Department's Media Centre is published at the end of each financial year. Information for the financial year 2007-08 has not yet been audited.

Cost of Media Centre staff, 1997-98 to 2006-07

Cost (£ million)

2006-07

1.765

2005-06

1.772

2004-05

1.471

2003-04

1.284

2002-03

1.077

2001-02

1.279

2000-01

1.233

1999-2000

1.253

1998-99

1.122

1997-98

1.062

Note:

Figures exclude social security and pension costs.

The Department has two executive agencies. The NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency does not employ press officers, and media services are supplied by the Media Centre.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) was set up in 2005-06 and the annual cost of providing media relations services is in the following table.

Cost (£)

2006-07

195,675

2005-06

135,166

Information on the breakdown of staffing and costs of non-departmental public bodies is not held centrally.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many press office staff were employed by (a) his 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. (189662)

A return on the number and cost of press officers in the Department's Media Centre is published at the end of each financial year.

Number of press officers, 1997-98 to 2007-08

Number of staff

1997-98

15

1998-99

15

1999-2000

21

2000-01

22

2001-02

22

2002-03

24

2003-04

26

2004-05

30

2005-06

30

2006-07

26

2007-08

28

The Department has two executive agencies. The NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency does not employ press officers, and media services are supplied by the Department's Media Centre. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has employed three press officers since it was set up in 2005-06.

Information on the breakdown of staffing and costs of non-departmental public bodies is not held centrally.