Magazine article Public Finance

Round-Up

Magazine article Public Finance

Round-Up

Article excerpt

The future of the European Structural Fund Programmes in Wales was discussed last week at a meeting between the Welsh Local Government Association and European Regional Policy Commissioner Danuta Hubner amid concerns that the programme had stalled. Chris Holley, WLGA spokesman for European affairs, said councils across Wales used European funding to regenerate local communities. 'We have concerns that the political stalemate in Brussels could result in less money, job losses and uncertainty in Wales because of delays in commencing the new programmes,' he said.

Local authorities across the West Midlands are to share in an extra £5.95m that will provide targeted assistance to councils rated as poor or weak. The funding boost was awarded under the West Midlands Regional Improvement and Efficiency Partnership, which aims to harness existing co-operative relationships and provide a single point of contact for councils wishing to access support. Local government minister Phil Woolas (pictured) said the funding would 'encourage the region's local authorities to accelerate improvement through working together, identifying common challenges and sharing experience and learning'.

The Local Government Ombudsman's office plans to make further improvements to its complaints handling services, following customer research. The ombudsmen plan to expand their telephone advice service. LGO chair Tony Redmond said: 'We recognise the value of customer research in making improvements to our service. …

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