Environment Food and Rural Affairs
Christopher Huhne (Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, Environment, Food & Rural Affairs; Eastleigh, Liberal Democrat)
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many staff by (a) headcount and (b) full-time equivalent work on his blog, broken down by (i) grade and (ii) office or directorate of his Department in which the staff work; and if he will make a statement.
Barry Gardiner (Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; Brent North, Labour)
The Secretary of State writes his own blog. Two staff in Defra's Communications Directorate—at Grade 7 and Higher Executive Officer grades—have integrated the blog into Defra's website, and continue to oversee operation. For the two weeks following the recent ministerial changes, approximately 30 to 40 per cent. of their time was spent on work in some way connected to the blog. This is expected to decrease.
The blog promotes a new and more direct form of communication between the public and the Secretary of State.