Tuesday, August 02, 2005

EU PEACE funding could be lost?

According to the BBC "the government has been warned millions of pounds in EU funding is in jeopardy because of a legal loophole. The local government auditor has told councils they do not appear to have the power to set up limited companies. This includes Local Strategic Partnerships, which distribute EU peace funding in Northern Ireland. The president of the Northern Ireland Local Government Association, Francie Molloy, said the government must pass new legislation. He said in the meantime it must provide councils with a cover letter to ensure their officials and local representatives are not left liable for any financial decisions taken. He expressed concerns that the LSPs, set up to distribute EU funding, could be closed down if the government fails to act. "My underestanding is that they cannot operate without the council being one of the major partners within that," he said. "So the European Union money is in danger here of not being distributed - that could run in to millions of pounds that would be lost, being sent back to Europe because it could not be spent." NILGA met with Lord Rooker, the direct rule minister for councils, last week to discuss the situation. "

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