Headlines: December 6th, 2006



Consultations have begun on major plans for the regeneration of East Wales. The Welsh First Minister, Rhodri Morgan, has launched the process to gather views on the investment of up to 200 million pounds in the region as part of the European Union’s Regional Competitiveness and Employment Programmes under which the area has been allocated 97 million pounds. The total will be made up by match funding.

The eight-week consultation began with the publication of a document about the East Wales programmes and the formal period will end on January 26th. Until then the Welsh Assembly Government is asking for comments on the strategy and priorities for the area’s economic, social and environmental regeneration until 2013.

Mr. Morgan, said he wanted East Wales to develop into a region at the cutting edge of the EU’s ambition for competitive and sustainable economic development in a global economy. “We are working closely with our partners in the Vale of Glamorgan, Cardiff, Newport, Monmouthshire, Powys, Wrexham and Flintshire and across the public, private and voluntary sectors to identify priority areas and the consultation will enable us to further this
process,” he said.

The new European funds will be used to build on the achievements of the Objective 2 and 3 Programmes, which look likely to create a total of 5,500 jobs and 500 new businesses. A further 11,500 unemployed people in East Wales have been helped into work or further training. The new programme will focus on getting more people into jobs and stimulating growth in line with the EU’s Lisbon Agenda.

Mr Morgan said firm foundations were already in place with economic, environment, skills and employment strategies setting the framework for the new round of EU Structural Funds. “Our focus is firmly on growth and getting more people into jobs,” he added.