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EUROPEAN FUNDING PLANS FOR WALES - MAJOR CONSULTATION LAUNCHED BY ASSEMBLY

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The national assembly's economic development committee, working with the four regional committees, is embarking on ...
The national assembly's economic development committee, working with the four regional committees, is embarking on a major public consultation exercise on the proposals for spending the estimated£1.5bn European funding due to come to Wales from next year.

Four open meetings are being held over the next three weeks in different parts of Wales. Local organisations and members of the public are invited to attend and to present their views to the committees on the steps that need to be taken over the next six years to build the foundations of a healthy and strong economy.

Val Feld, chair of the economic development committee, said: 'It is vital for the future of Wales that we get these programmes right. In October we have to put to the European Union our proposals for spending this money. They need to address directly the real problems of under-employment and low pay in much of Wales and to present realistic and achievable solutions.

'It is particularly important that we hear from individuals and local organisations to ensure that our plans take into account the different needs and priorities of the regions and the actual experience of people on the ground who are already working to improve our economy and living standards.'

The four special public meetings will take place in:

Swansea, Guildhall on 13 September at 10am in partnership with the South West Wales committee

Aberaeron in Ceredigion Council offices on 17 September at 10am in partnership with the Mid Wales Regional Committee

Ystrad Mynach in Caerffili council offices at Tredomen on 17 September at 2pm

and in Rhyl Town Hall on 20 September at 10 am

Members of the public and local organisations are invited to present their views direct to assembly members. The meetings will back up a further consultation being undertaken by the European task force that has drawn up the plans for an Economic Development Strategy for Wales and for programmes to deliver the Objective One and Three funding. The economic development committee, together with the regional committees is particularly seeking views on what should be the priorities of the programmes, what targets should be set to judge progress and what sort of arrangements should be put in place to allocate the funds.

According to Val Feld: 'This is a unique opportunity for people to participate in the development of Wales. We need to tap all the experience and expertise out there in our communities and we look forward to hearing the contributions.'

Other assembly committees will also be considering the proposals in September. The full assembly will be debating the final proposals in mid October.

Any members of the public wishing to attend or organisations wishing to present their views should contact:

Helen Usher, Clerk to the Economic Development Committee, National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff Bay

Telephone 01222 898225. Email: Helen.Usher@wales.gsi.gov.uk

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