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Tuesday, 18 December, 2001, 07:24 GMT
MPs quiz Children's Society bosses
Childrens' Society graphic
The Childrens' Society announced its decision in November
Leading figures from the Children's Society will appear before a committee of MPs on Tuesday to explain the decision of the charity to pull out of Wales.

Members of the all-party Welsh Affairs select committee are set to question the society's chairman, Ian Sparks, and Lady Toulson, chair of the board of trustees about the controversial move.

Tony Blair
Tony Blair: 'Disappointed'
The decision of the Children's Society to close down its Welsh arm continues to spark anger in the political world.

Prime Minister Tony Blair said he was disappointed by the news, and members of the Welsh Select Committee are due to step up pressure on the society to reconsider the decision.

There is concern that the pull-out will shut down 13 projects designed to help vulnerable children and lead to the loss of over 120 jobs.

The Society has said that all small and medium-sized charities are struggling to survive in the current economic climate.

It argues that this is a particular problem for church charities and those working with children.

Dr Rowan Williams
Archbishop Dr Rowan Williams: 'Furious'

On 14 December, trustees of the Children's Society refused to reverse its decision to pull out of Wales.

But they did agree to explore options for a further five years' funding for projects.

Teenagers who have benefitted from the church-funded organisation's work and staff facing redundancy had travelled to London to lobby the society's board of trustees for millions in continued funding.

The trip followed an announcement in November that the charity was pulling out of Wales in a bid to solve cashflow problems around the UK.

Their aim was to secure a share of the society's 4m reserves but no cash had been committed to operations in Wales at the end of the meeting.

The society's communications officer for Wales said: "We welcome this small movement and want to work with them but we are disappointed because we wanted much more."

Negative impact'

The closure of the Welsh operation provoked fierce criticism, with a furious Reverend Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Wales, claiming the decision could have a negative impact on the lives of many youngsters in Wales.

He immediately withdrew Church in Wales funding from the society's projects, and set up a new fund to hold any money raised while discussions continue about the future of the charity.

Anger was compounded last week when the society announced reward strategy payments of 300,000 for staff in England.

The society is aiming to balance a 6m shortfall in funds across its work.

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