It is a matter for each local authority to determine its own expenditure requirements in the context of its annual estimates. Such expenditure is funded from a variety of sources, including the local Government fund and other State grants, rates, fees and charges. Expenditure arising as a result of the provision of additional staffing would be dealt with by local authorities in this estimates context.
The Deputy will be aware that, as part of my reforms of local government, I have greatly increased the allocations to local authorities from the local Government fund to support their day-to-day activities. In 2001, I have allocated £436 million in general purpose grants to local authorities, an increase of almost 64% on the initial 1997 allocation. I have also sought to distribute such funds among local authorities in a more equitable manner. The 2001 allocation represents an across the board increase of a minimum of 12.5% over the previous years' allocation to all local authorities. In addition, in continuing the trend towards equalisation, some local authorities have been given increases in excess of this level on the basis of the needs and resources model. Staffing costs of local authorities is one of the factors taken into account in the model's calculations.