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To ask the Prime Minister
(1) how many hours of his staff time were taken up in preparation of Christmas cards in 2004;
(2) how many of his staff have responsibility for preparing Christmas cards;
(3) what percentage of his official Christmas cards included a contribution to charity in their cost; and which charities benefited from such a contribution;
(4) what the cost of postage was for his official Christmas cards in (a) 2003 and (b) 2004;
(5) what the cost was of purchasing his official Christmas cards in (a) 2003 and (b) 2004;
(6) how many official Christmas cards he sent in (a) 2003 and (b) 2004.
In 2003 I sent approximately 1,600 official Christmas cards at a cost of £350. This year I shall be sending approximately 1,900 official Christmas cards at a cost of £405. The dispatch and staff time for posting those cards is made in accordance with the departmental guidance on financial procedures and propriety, based on the principles set out in "Government Accounting". The company that supplies the cards makes a donation to charity. In 2003 this was Weston Spirit, a national youth charity tackling issues of social exclusion in young people.