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Volume 498: debated on Wednesday 28 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 20 July 2009, Official Report, column 814W, on housing, for what reasons the letter for local newspapers was distributed via the Central Office of Information; what the cost to the public purse was of its distribution; and if he will place in the Library a copy of the letter. (295856)

Communities and Local Government has a retainer contract with the Central Office of Information to support the work of CLG press office in communicating and explaining the Department’s policies through local and regional media channels. One way in which COI’s network of regional News and PR teams supports this objective, under the terms of the contract, is to use its knowledge of and contacts with local newspapers to help place and tailor ministerial articles on issues relevant to their readerships.

The distribution of the article that is the subject of this and previous related questions tabled by the hon. Member was undertaken as part of this retainer arrangement.