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WELSH OPPOSITION PARTIES UNITE TO CALL FOR WESTMINSTER ACTION ON MATCH-FUNDING

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The leaders of the Welsh Assembly's three opposition parties have called for a meeting with Tony Blair to discuss t...
The leaders of the Welsh Assembly's three opposition parties have called for a meeting with Tony Blair to discuss the issue of match-funding for Objective 1 programmes.

The Daily Post (p12) reports that a total of£1.2bn of European money has been earmarked for Wales over the next six years but it must be matched by funds from the UK.

Dafydd Wigley, the Plaid Cymru president, said yesterday: 'I will be writing to Mr Blair asking him to meet a delegation of opposition party leaders from the Assembly. It seems Alun Michael has failed to impress on Mr Blair the importance of match-funding to Wales.'

'Hopefully, I and other members of the opposition will be able to do this should Mr Blair agree to meet us.'

Plaid Cymru has accused the Westminster government of discriminating against Wales in Objective 1 funding. Figures based on single programming document submissions show Merseyside, south Yorkshire and Cornwall expect to get full match funding from the Treasury while Wales is expecting 73% at best.

Plaid said that would leave£336m not covered by match funds and Mr Wigley said that would lead to cuts in health and education to make up the shortfall.

He said: 'This is further evidence of the failure of the Labour government in Cardiff to safeguard the needs of Wales. The Treasury is clearly listening more to the English regions than to Alun Michael's government. This is a scandal.'

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