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Coalition to hold on to unspent funds.

THE UK Government is to proceed with plans to write off the Assembly Government's pounds 385m of unspent money, it has confirmed.

In a letter to Budget Minister Jane Hutt, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander refused to allow the release of the Assembly Government's accumulated stocks of so-called end year flexibility (EYF), the system which had previously allowed it to carry forward unspent funds from one year to the next.

The UK Government S has changed the scheme as part of its deficit reduction programme.

Ms Hutt said the Assembly Government was "extremely unhappy" with the move.

"This is our money voted by Parliament to Wales," she said. "It should be used to support investment in public services and in supporting the economic recovery, rather than retained by the Treasury.

"I wrote to the Chief Secretary on January 11, requesting that all of our accumulated stocks of EYF be released. The Chief Secretary replied to my letter on February 9, but he has refused to allow the release of our accumulated stocks, with the implication that these stocks will now be written off.

"Our EYF stocks are all the more important given the unprecedented reduction in the Assembly Government's Budget imposed by the UK Government. We will continue to oppose the UK Government's plans to take away our EYF stocks and stand up for the interests of the people of Wales."

Ms Hutt now plans to write a letter to Mr Alexander protesting at the refusal, jointly with Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney and Northern Ireland Finance Minister Sammy Wilson, both of whom are also opposed to the change, which was set out in last year's Spending Review.
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 11, 2011
Words:280
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