§ Mr. Keith Simpson
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office (1) what the criteria were by which the civil defence grant for 2003–04 was allocated to individual local authorities; 405W
(2) what the aggregate amount of civil defence grant was in each financial year since 1996–97. 
§ Mr. Alexander
I refer the hon. Member to my written ministerial statement on 3 December 2002,Official Report, column 68WS, which explains how civil defence grant was allocated for 2003–04, and the level of allocation to each authority in England and Wales.
To determine the individual allocations mentioned in that statement, the following formula was adopted:
Each authority received £53,000. Each county council received £12,000 in respect of each shire district within the authority's boundaries. These flat-rate payments accounted for approximately 65 per cent. of the aggregate grant, in recognition of the fact that every authority, regardless of size and population, would incur similar unavoidable costs in conducting the basic emergency planning function.
The remaining 35 per cent. of the aggregate grant was distributed according to the Bellwin threshold, using population size as a proxy for the scale of the emergency planning that authorities need to undertake.
In order to keep year-on-year changes to individual authorities' allocations within reasonable bounds, a damping was added to the formula, so that no authority lost more than 10 per cent. or gained more than 20 per cent. compared with the previous year.
Before the formula was applied for the financial year 2002–03, £100,000 was retained for discretionary grant for special projects and special events of benefit to the wider emergency planning community in England and Wales.
Before making decisions on this allocation method, consultations were held with local authority representatives on the basis of a draft formula. As a result of the representations made, the formula was amended to give greater weight to the flat rate element and less weight to the element distributed according to the Bellwin threshold. The damping was also changed to reduce the floor level for losses.
The aggregate amount of civil defence grant in each financial year since 1996–97 is as follows:
In the absence of cash limits, the aggregate amount of civil defence grant increased in 2001–02, following discussions with local authorities. It was decided to maintain the grant at around the 2001–02 national level to reflect factors such as the fuel crisis, foot and mouth outbreak and flooding.406W
Financial year Shropshire county council civil defence grant (£) Telford and Wrekin civil defence grant (£) Total civil defence grant for Shropshire (£) Percentage change England and Wales percentage change 1997–98 212,800 1— 212,800 — — 1998–99 171,288 35,000 206,288 -3 0 1999–2000 170,688 35,000 205,688 0 0 2000–01 153,619 48,000 201,619 -2 0 2001–02 170,498 79,999 250,497 +24 +31 2002–03 153,448 71,999 225,447 -10 0 2003–04 153,834 72,385 226,219 0 0 1 Did not exist
Aggregate civil defence grant Financial year £ million 1996–97 14.93 1997–98 14.46 1998–99 14.44 1999–2000 14.44 2000–01 14.44 2001–02 18.97 2002–03 18.97 2003–04 19.04