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Christine Chapman, chair economic development
"I am disappointed that they have made this point that they will withdraw"
 real 28k

David Rosser, CBI Wales
"The partnership is supposed to be meaningful"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 14 March, 2001, 17:21 GMT
CBI threat to quit 1.2bn scheme
CBI-Objective One graphics
The Welsh Assembly faces criticism over Objective One
Key organisations are threatening to pull out of Wales's largest ever European grants programme unless they are involved more in delivering the scheme.

The TUC and Confederation of British Industry and other leading organisations are unhappy at their level of participation in the 1.2bn Objective One grant programme for Wales.

A leaked letter has revealed that private sector groups will "seriously consider" their involvement in the light of progress of Objective One over the coming months.

Christine Chapman AM
Christine Chapman AM: 'Efforts ongoing'
Welsh businesses in specific regeneration areas are expected to create thousands of new jobs using European grant aid.

But they have long complained of their effective exclusion from decisions about how the money is spent.

The leaked letter has revealed frustration among key participants.

David Rosser from CBI Wales said: "There is growing dissatisfaction among partner groups that they do not have a meaningful voice.

"Far too often we get feedback from groups that their presence at a meeting has not had an impact.

"None of the reps are paid to be there, so it is time that has to be well spent. If it is not, maybe there are other ways we can bring out forces to bear."

Real partnership

"Businesses do not want to run Objective One. It is about delivering programmes and there is not much thought being given to an overall strategy on how it to spend it."

The Federation of Small Businesses, Chambers of Commerce and TUC have said they are unhappy with the current situation.

They have told Christine Chapman, who chairs the committee overseeing the programme, that real partnership means ensuring all parties feel they have influence.

The groups involved said that was not the case at the moment.

Ms Chapman admitted she was concerned but said efforts were ongoing to involve the private sector.

Alun Cairns, Tory Assembly economic spokesman, said that he was concerned by the development.

"The damning letter repeats many of the calls that we have been making from the outset," he said.

"The private sector is being ignored and is not allowed to play a full part in the process."

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18 Jul 00 | Wales
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