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WELSH UP IN ARMS OVER FAILURE TO MATCH FUNDS

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The lack of Objective 1 matching funds has prompted opposition parties in Wales to unite in protest at the minority...
The lack of Objective 1 matching funds has prompted opposition parties in Wales to unite in protest at the minority Labour administration's£8 billion Assembly budget for next year.

Conservative, Plaid Cymru and Liberal Democrat Assembly members were angry that the 2000-01 budget made no explicit provision for money to match grant contributions from Brussels. They dismissed out of hand government claims that the full£187m of funding needed every year to match Objective 1 money would not actually be drawn down in the very first year of the scheme.

In an Assembly debate on the 2000-01 budget for Wales, Dayffd Wigley, president of Plaid Cymru, said it was 'arrant, defeatist nonsense and a cop-out to say the money will not be needed'.

Lib Dem leader Michael German said the European funds had clearly been 'drawn up in the shadows of the night and not in the light of the day'. Opposition parties hope to persuade the Treasury to allocate extra money for match funding.
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