To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the cost to her Department was of employing press and media officers in the last 12 months for which figures are available; and what the cost to her Department was of employing such staff in the financial year 1996-97, expressed in real terms.
The cost of the press office for the 12 months from March 2009 to February 2010 is £2,499,577 providing media handling for the Department, Ministers, Jobcentre Plus and the Pensions, Carers and Disability Service.
This covers 50 members of staff who are based in London, across the English regions, Scotland and Wales. They provide a service to the Department and to journalists 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
The Department for Work and Pensions was created in 2001. Figures for 1996-97 are not held centrally and can be provided only at disproportionate cost.