Welsh Finance Minister Jane Hutt says the next round of programmes funded by European money must be more flexible, simpler and 'more focused' than in previous years. She was responding to the news that agreement has been reached paving the way for a new programme of funding worth £2bn to Wales.
She also said Welsh Government plans for a Metro scheme linking public transport in south eastern parts of Wales will be a likely beneficiary of the money.
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The Welsh Government has welcomed the agreement on how the next £2 billion of European aid will be spent in Wales. The minister who negotiated the deal, Jane Hutt, says that it will deliver real economic growth and jobs.
This announcement is a significant milestone with the European Commission confirming Structural Fund allocations to Wales of over £2 billion. This is great news for Wales and this new EU funding will have a real impact on the Welsh economy and job creation. It will help us deliver more innovative and inspiring EU-funded projects.
There's been criticism that previous rounds of European aid have been spent on too many small projects, which though worthwhile in themselves did not improve the prosperity of West Wales and the Valleys. The area remains one of the poorest parts of the entire European Union.
Whilst this funding will be welcomed, we must not forget that it has only been granted due to the failure of successive Welsh Labour Governments to improve Wales’ economic performance in previous tranches. Back in 2000, former First Minister Rhodri Morgan described Objective 1 funding as a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity. Well here we are again, and under Welsh Labour parts of Wales remain amongst the poorest areas in the EU, never mind the United Kingdom
One of the main beneficiaries of the new funding will be the South East Wales metro plan to improve public transport, after the Welsh Government successfully argued in Brussels that some of the money had to be spent on transport if the aid programme was to achieve any lasting economic improvement.
Royal Mail are opening a temporary centre in Llantrisant to help deliver parcels in the busy period before Christmas.
Around 4,000 seasonal workers will be employed by the ten new sites opening across the UK.
Some of the other centres will be based in West Lothian, Leeds, Manchester, Wolverhampton, Swindon, Greenford, Peterborough and Milton Keynes.
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Thirty buildings in will be transformed into wi-fi hotspots as part of a 12.6 million UK government investment.
Venues such as Cardiff Castle, Central Library, the New Theatre and St Davids Hall are all set to go live as hotspots by March 2015.
I want Cardiff to have world class internet connectivity so businesses, families and visitors can take full advantage of the increasing demands of the digital age.
This is a big boost for our capital city and will make Cardiff an even more attractive place to live, work and invest in.
Plans have been unveiled which show how Cardiff city centre could look in the future, after a multi-million pound renovation.
The development includes over a million square feet of office, retail and residential buildings around a new civic square. It will also feature a new walkway from Cardiff Central Station to the Millennium Stadium.
At the centre of the development is the proposed new BBC Wales HQ, which, subject to planning, is scheduled for completion in 2017.
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A crash involving up to six cars is causing delays on the M4 eastbound between junction 26, Malpas Road, and 28, Tredegar Park.
One lane is blocked but most of the cars involved are now on the hard shoulder.
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