The Department has already tried to anticipate that, and it has already issued guidelines to councils to try to ensure that they do not take on any unnecessary new borrowing before the new councils are set up. The finance Bill, which will, I hope, come before the Assembly in the spring of 2009 will lay down further restrictions. For example, any new borrowing by councils will have to be agreed by the transition committees of the councils that are to amalgamate. Disputes will arise. However, if the arrangements for the new councils are to work, it is important that transition committees work together and see themselves not as separate councils for the future, but as new corporate entities.
Disputes that cannot be resolved can be referred to me for resolution. I say that with great reluctance, because I hope that I will not have to do that. If that were to happen too frequently, the new councils would face a bleak future.