At the Centre of Whitehall: Advising the Prime Minister and by June Burnham, G. W. Jones J. M. Lee

By June Burnham, G. W. Jones J. M. Lee

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His responsibility, unpaid, was to liaise with the government's supporters in the House of Commons, informing them of the prime minister's views and sending back to the prime minister anxieties and opinions of his own supporters. This political work was from the 1920s seen as too partisan to be handled openly by civil servants. They began to monopolize the positions of private secretary in the 'private office' and concentrated more on liaising with ministers and their departments in Whitehall. The Parliamentary Private Secretary continued to be an MP who acted as the prime minister's eyes, ears and voice among backbenchers.

On what is the additional money being spent? The policy unit, the most visible new resource, grew from 2 advisers in 1980 to 13 in the 1990s, the latter figure including secretarial assistance. 6m in 1992-3, representing only 17 per cent of the increase between 1980 and 1992. 1 of Chapter 7. Answers to parliamentary questions by Dr Tony Wright, MP, separating staff costs from other costs, show staff costs were stable in real terms until about 1990, dipped slightly, then rose to 1993 with the increase in staff numbers.

10, before taking the costs of office space, redecoration and other services into account. 2. In calculating costs, equivalent figures for the years 1980 to 1985 were estimated as above. Even taking inflation into account, costs rose on average throughout the 1980s, stayed at this higher level of spending in the early 1990s, rose sharply in 1992, then fell back to 1987-8 levels. 389 • includes £0. 718m transferred to Cabinet Office budget. Source: HC Debs, 265, cols 127-8,31 October 1995. 4 Some Costs in the Prime Minister's Office, 1992-3 £ Total cost includes: salary & notional pension costs PM's overseas travel (includes RAF flights £146,000) office services (typing, messengers, cleaning) office accommodation* (includes new works £158,000) government car service (includes use by officials £340,000) Chequers service personnel PM's official hospitality 9,865,000 2,903,000 1,200,000 891,000 812,000 470,000 230,000 30,000 *Budget for 1993-4.

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