Sometimes people hit the nail on the head first-time, Plaid AM Nerys Evans call for Communities First anti-poverty programme to be scrapped unless it clearly demonstrates its value to the Welsh economy (Western Mail 5th July) is one of those moments. Now she is absolutely correct to question the value and contribution of this programme, which promised much and yet may well have delivered significantly less in some of our most vulnerable communities.
I believe that there is a pressing need for a full and public scrutiny of the way the £214 million's worth of funding (from the National Assembly) between 2001 and 2009 has been spent. This call is particularly timely, especially as the Wales Audit Office report (back in 2009) said that of the £214 million, £140 million had gone to partnership mainly to pay staff and administrative costs rather than on outcomes.
Certainly locally in Newport the impression that was created as a result of working with and talking to community activists in Pill over a number of years between 2001 and 2007 that funding was allocated to community groups that were favoured by (or under the control of) the Newport Labour Party rather than representative of community groups or concerned local residents.
With all areas of Government funding are going to face severe cuts it is vitally important that we all get real value for money, community based and EU funded projects, schemes and initiatives should make a real difference not merely provide a state of near permanent employment for project staff.