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    06 August, 2008

    Mayor for the Valleys

    In case there is any doubt, I agree with my colleague Huw Lewis that this is a daft idea, as I told the Chair of the Institute of Welsh Affairs on the Maes today. I see that the Western Mail managed to take one of my sentences from the foreword to the IWA publication and make it look like I welcomed the idea. Well, I welcome all discussion on the future of the Heads of the Valleys, but I don't think this is an idea that will go very far.

    Just a quick note on Huw's comments. The original budget for the Heads of the Valleys was £10 million per annum: last year under Huw and I between us the programme spent over £16 million and in the previous year under Andrew Davies the programme spent over £15 million. So we are well ahead of the original budget.

    But Huw will remember that the Heads of the Valleys are not the Valleys as such. There are only two local authority areas (Merthyr Tydfil and Blaenau Gwent) and two Assembly Constituencies wholly covered by the Heads of the Valleys programme (Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney and Blaenau Gwent). Parts of Torfaen, RCT (including some parts of the Rhondda and some parts of the Cynon Valley constituencies) and Caerphilly Borough (including some parts of the Caerphilly and some parts of the Islwyn constituencies) are included.

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    Promoted by Leighton Andrews AM, National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff CF99 1NA.

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