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WALES MUST WAIT FOR MATCH FUNDING FOR EU CASH

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No financial aid from the government will be available through the granting of Objective 1 funding from Brussels un...
No financial aid from the government will be available through the granting of Objective 1 funding from Brussels until 15 months after the programme has been launched, according to The Western Mail (p1).

The EU has allocated£1.3bn to Wales for spending in the Valleys and the west for five years starting in January 2000. But this money will be sent to Wales only if sources in this country can provide an equivalent amount in matching funds.

But it was yesterday revealed by the government in a written assembly answer that no cash will be available until April 2001.

In the written answer, Alum Michael, the first secretary, said: 'Decisions arising out of the government's next review of public spending will be announced during the course of next year. The review will set public spending plans for departments and devolved administrations for 2001-02, 2002-03 and 2003-04.'

Michael German, the Liberal Democrat assembly leader, said: 'That means that no match funding will be available until April 2001. The cat is out of the bag and the cat is in pretty poor health.'

A Welsh Office spokesman said that although there will be a delay in providing government funds, Objective 1 plans would be able to proceed using private finance.

Mr Michael said: 'I am confident there will not be a problem in the availability of this money or the timescale.'

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