Central Government has more than 1,500 comms staff – ‘and it’s still impossible to get answers until after deadline’

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Political journalists have expressed surprise and concern after research by Press Gazette revealed that 20 central Government departments employ more than 1,500 communications staff.

Freedom of Information Act releases and transparency figures show that the Home Office (pictured: Reuters) has 276 full-time equivalent staff with communications responsibilties.

Elsewhere, the Department of Work and Pensions employs 184 and the Cabinet Office employs 205.

In total, some 1,514 FTE staff across the main Government departments are communications professionals or have communications responsibilities.

Daily Mail political sketch writer Quentin Letts described the figure as "ludicrous overstaffing".

"The citizen in me is outraged by the cost," he told Press Gazette. "The journo in me wonders how come, with so many press officers, it can still be impossible to get answers from the Whitehall machine until after deadline." 

Guardian and Spectator writer Nick Cohen said the revelation was a sign that current leaders are "as determined as the last government to propagandise".

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