I expend enough effort trying to get money for my own Department’s functions without having to lobby for others. I am sure that the Minister for Regional Development is perfectly capable of lobbying for his own funds; I will lobby for my own Department.
As for resources for setting up the new councils, I know that councils, councillors and council officials will need to do extra work in the transition period. Therefore, £150,000 will be made available each year to each council to set up transition committees, staff them and make the necessary arrangements. Additional funding bids will be made to the Department of Finance and Personnel for the extra moneys that will be needed for the amalgamation of councils and for setting up new ones. Whether they will be successful will depend on whether we make a strong enough business case for extra money for the rationalisation.