Burnham: “Communities First puts Communities Last”

2010 Tachwedd 29 11:44 AM

The Welsh Assembly Government's flagship programme to help people in the most deprived areas has led to "marginal improvements" in the last nine years, according to a charity.

Social justice charity, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said any gains to communities risked being undermined by the current economic climate.

The scheme covers 188 areas and has cost £214m since launching in 2001.

Eleanor Burnham AM, Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Minster for Communities said:

"This scheme has cost Welsh taxpayers over £240 million since it first started in 2001 and it seems that it hasnt made much of a difference in our most deprived communities.

"There have been numerous problems with its effectiveness and its operation. Over the last few months, weve seen reports of serious and widespread weakness in financial control and governance as well as public funds being diverted from the overall intended purpose of the programme something which the Minister himself has acknowledged. I find this very worrying given the amount of money spent on this programme.

"The Assemblys own Public Accounts Committee has concluded that the Labour-Plaid government is unable to demonstrate that the scheme gives value for money and in difficult financial times, we must make sure that the Welsh pound is spent in the most effective way possible."

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