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Thursday, 5 December, 2002, 06:40 GMT
Share of 1.4bn Euro cash in danger
Welsh Assembly/EU graphic
The assembly's audit committee warned of money being lost
Wales could miss out on some of the 1.4bn of European money it should get for its poorest areas because of problems with the way the programme has been managed.

A cross-party committee of Welsh Assembly members has said the programme, run by the Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO), was launched without basic management structures or clear guidance for applicants.


Effective delivery of structural funds throughout Wales is vital

Dafydd Wigley

One important operational document of 123 pages was drawn up by just one person in a hurry, who was working up to 24 hours a day, according to the assembly's audit committee.

The money is supposed to aid the economy in west Wales and the valleys, which are lagging behind other parts of the country.

But applicants have to go through 11 separate stages and wait over three months on average for approval.

The committee did concede, however, that some progress had been made in improving the situation, but still warned Wales could lose funds if money was not committed quickly enough.

They acknowledged improvements in the quality of guidance available to applicants and partnerships, and the introduction of a shorter and more effective system of appraisals for applications.

Dafydd Wigley AM
Dafydd Wigley chairs the audit committee

Chair of the audit committee Dafydd Wigley said: "Effective delivery of structural funds throughout Wales is vital, and after a somewhat shaky start, WEFO now appears to have matters in hand.

"The audit committee has made a total of 28 recommendations to ensure that everyone involved works together to develop and appraise projects swiftly, to deliver them on time, and to submit claims properly.

"We have asked the auditor general to keep a watchful eye on matters and report to us again when the programme is further underway."

The Welsh Assembly Government will not respond formally to the report for some time, but has released figures showing expenditure targets are being met.

A spokeswoman said they were confident no funding would be lost to Wales.

See also:

02 Dec 02 | Wales
20 Nov 02 | Wales
16 Jan 02 | Wales
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