Friday, 04 May 2012 08:23




NORTH Wales Assembly Member, Mark Isherwood, has questioned why the Welsh Government wants different models for the future of Communities First in both Wrexham and Flintshire to the ones recommended following consultation in the two counties.


Mr Isherwood, who last month wrote to the Ministerfor Local Government and Communities, Carl Sargeant, highlighting local concerns regarding the options specified for the future of Communities First in Wrexham, has this week raised the matter with the Minister in the Assembly Chamber.




He said: “As you are aware, the Welsh Government’s proposals for Communities First involve a cluster model, and you have been receiving submissions recently from different areas on their proposals for that. Welsh Government guidelines initially led to Wrexham County Borough Council consulting on a three-cluster model over four months, and Flintshire County Council consulting on a two-cluster model, but then the Welsh Government announced that it did not agree with the number of clusters and, despite the consultations, it wanted just two clusters in Wrexham and one in Flintshire. What is going on, Minister?”




The Minister replied: “I thought that consultation was about consultation—talking to people about the opportunities that there may or may not be. The Member has always had bit of a downer on Communities First. Labour is the only party that is committed to Communities First, and we will not turn our backs on the most deprived, unlike the Member’s party opposite.”

Mr Isherwood added: “The Minister is ignoring what people said in the consultations. He fails to acknowledge that months of consultation in Flintshire and Wrexham led to Flintshire’s two cluster model being recommended and Wrexham’s three cluster model being recommended, only to then be told that the Welsh Government wanted a different model in each county.

“The Minister was also wrong to say Welsh Conservatives are opposed to Communities First. Recognising that the Welsh Government budget had cut Communities First funding and that the second phase of Communities First ends in 2012, we were honest with the people of Wales and proposed a future model based on proposals by the Wales Council for Voluntary Action. However, Labour fought the Assembly Election in 2011 without mentioning that Communities First funding was being cut or that the current phase of Communities First ended in 2012, instead giving the impression to the people of Wales that it was business as usual. Only after the election did they admit the truth and launch their consultation on the future of Communities First.”  



Promoted by Mark Isherwood AM at National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff Bay, Cardiff, CF99 1NA

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