§ Mr. Wigley
asked the Secretary of State for Wales what is his estimate of the total number of additional staff that have been recruited by district councils in Wales to deal with increased demand for improvement grants; and whether he will ensure that no local authority is penalised for overspending that arises from such appointments.
§ Mr. Wyn Roberts
A recent survey carried out by the Council for the Principality showed that only about 1 per cent. of district council manpower was engaged, or about to be engaged, in the processing of home renovation grants. The additional staff which authorities estimated were needed to deal with the backlog of applications was only 0.3 per cent. These figures make it clear that authorities already have at their disposal sufficient staff resources to make the relatively small adjustments necessary to deal with the increased demand for grants. It would therefore be wholly inappropriate to make an exemption from expenditure targets for any additional staff.