Departmental Staff

Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 5th June 2006.

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Photo of Christopher Huhne Christopher Huhne Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, Environment, Food & Rural Affairs

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.

Photo of Barry Gardiner Barry Gardiner Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) (Biodiversity, Landscape and Rural Affairs)

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.

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Mat Bowles
Posted on 21 Jun 2006 9:02 pm (Report this annotation)

This technically answers the question, but doesn't actually get to the thrust of the point; what is the cost of the blog.

Huhne has used this answer to create a cost per annum of £40K, which is patently ludicrous. Also, the 'statement' part wasn't answered at all.

The blog may cost money, and possibly a lot more than it should, but it doesn't cost £40K