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Upwardly mobile ministers

MOBILE phones for education ministers and officials now cost the taxpayer twice as much as when Labour came to power. The Government, famous for its pager messages to keep backbenchers "on-message", spent more than pound;350,000 last year on mobiles for Education Secretary Charles Clarke and his department. That compares to pound;170,000 in 1997-8 but represents a pound;21,000 reduction from the election year of 2001-2.

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