In today's Daily Telegraph political correspondent Graeme Wilson reports:
Spending on Government spin has trebled under Labour and taxpayers are now supporting an army of more than 3,200 press officers. The dramatic expansion of the Whitehall press machine under Tony Blair is laid bare in official figures obtained by the Conservatives.
A total of 1,815 press officers and other public relations staff works in Whitehall departments. John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister, has three press officers, despite no longer having a department.
Not surprisingly, the Telegraph hardly welcomes the news; its leader is headlined: "Taxpayers are funding the wages of spin"
.... One of the most profound sources of disillusionment with New Labour is the belief that its entire approach to governing has been ruled by the priorities of public relations.
.... This insidious culture of press manipulation has infiltrated virtually every institution in the public sector: museums, cultural institutions and community agencies have all learnt the formula. It will take a dedicated effort by any future government to avoid playing the same game.