The West Wales and the Valleys region has been awarded the highest level of support known as Convergence, from the European Union for the Structural Funds programming round 2007–2013.
This programme is designed to give direct support to stimulate economic development in under-performing economies; the West Wales and the Valleys region’s economic performance (measured in GDP) falls below 75% of the EU average (this confirms its eligibility for this support).
Convergence, the successor to the Objective 1 programme 2000-2006, covers 15 local authority areas in the West Wales and the Valleys region.
Convergence is investing in a range of activities, all aimed at strengthening our economy. There are four main themes:
- Developing our people
- Strengthening businesses
- Investing in our future
- Making connections
The Convergence programmes for West Wales and the Valleys comprise funding from two separate European Structural Funds: the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund (ESF).
Around £1 billion of ERDF funds will help progress the region’s transformation into a sustainable and competitive economy by investing in the knowledge economy and helping new and existing businesses to grow. It will also focus on regenerating Wales’ most deprived communities, tackling climate change and improving transport.
Over £690 million from the ESF will be used to tackle economic inactivity, increase skills and employment. Together, with match funding, Convergence will drive a total investment of £3.5 billion in West Wales and the Valleys.
These funds from the European Union will contribute to developing the local economy, bringing about structural change to the way our services are delivered and our economies operate.