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COMMITTEE CONCLUDE OBJECTIVE ONE IS WORKING WELL IN WALES

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Assembly economic development minister Andrew Davies has welcomed the publication of the Welsh affairs committee's ...
Assembly economic development minister Andrew Davies has welcomed the publication of the Welsh affairs committee's report on Objective One European Funding in Wales as good news for Wales.

The report sets out the house of commons committee's view on how the different levels of government and private and voluntary sector bodies are working together to deliver the Objective One programme. The report also compares how the programme in Wales is organised with the way the three programmes in England are run.

In Wales the Welsh assembly government created the Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO) to oversee all European Structural Funding matters and each programme is supervised by a Programme Monitoring Committee with members drawn from the public, private and voluntary sectors.

Andrew Davies said: 'The report is quite right to state that granting West Wales and the Valleys Objective One status was one of the most important economic decisions in Wales in recent years. The programme provides Wales with£1.14bn of European money and a golden opportunity to transform some of the most deprived parts of Wales. We must use this opportunity wisely and it is right that the Welsh affairs committee should take an interest.

'This report is good news. It highlights the good progress the Welsh assembly government is making in running the Objective One programme and provides some useful pointers that will help us to ensure the programme operates smoothly for the organisations and communities across Wales that it is designed to benefit.

'The committee concluded that the Wales programme is performing well both in terms of committing money to projects and them spending it. It also says that the different levels of government involved in delivering Objective One in Wales are working well together and notes that the partnership approach adopted in Wales has been praised by the European Commission and other Objective One regions. In terms of gender balance the partnership arrangements in place in Wales were considered exemplary by another Objective One region.

'The Welsh assembly government is committed to ensuring that Objective One funding reaches projects that can play their part in transforming the economy of Wales. WEFO are already exploring ways of helping strong projects through the process of applying for funds. However, the emphasis will continue to be on securing good projects rather than a desire to meet processing deadlines. Speed in turning around funding applications is important but developing quality projects that will benefit Wales in the long term is our goal.

'I would like to thank the Welsh affairs committee for playing their part in ensuring that Wales reaps the benefits of the Objective One programme. I will discuss the report with colleagues in the coming weeks and formally respond to it in due course.'

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