European funding bonus

It's not often you find this blog agreeing with the First Minister but I wholeheartedly welcome the points he made on Structural Funding last Tuesday.

"If the exchange rate stays where it is today, then we will have 15 per cent more money over the next six or seven years. In the same way that we suddenly got this £40 million windfall of European funding, we will get an extra £300 million over the next six years, if the exchange rate stays where it is today. Although, of course, it will make it more stressful to find the match funding, so this is not unalloyed good news. However, it is good news and it means that you can do more provided that you can get the project up and running and delivered in the time period".

Given the state of the country's economy, it is vital that Wales, and the Welsh Assembly Government, ensures that the extra £50 million per annum is spent to make a real difference.

For those projects that can prove themselves successful in the first couple of years, then they need to be enhanced and rolled out so that they bring benefits across our poorest communities.

Let's also encourage the private sector to get involved far more than they have in the past as they can provide the matched funding that the cash-pressed WAG cannot do.

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