A National Folk Music Centre in Gwynedd, North Wales is at the centre of attention after a BBC report exposed that the Welsh Government, with the help of European funding, has spent £1.2m of taxpayers' money funding a project in a comparatively small town in rural North Wales.
The project ‘Ty Siamas’ which intended to sustain 19 local jobs, now only employs two part-time members of staff. The interactive folk music exhibition has closed down due to a lack of public interest, and as well as this, an onsite shop has been leased to a crafts company, and the online shop which sold folk music goods is now dormant.
Darren Millar, Chair of the Welsh Assembly’s Public Accountants Committee questioned the rationale behind the original project,
You've got to ask the question how realistic was the proposal - how realistic was it that you're going to have an arts centre in what is a reasonably sized town in north Wales, but small by the standards of the country as a whole, and I think it's really important that these business proposals - whenever anybody brings them forward - are properly tested in the future, and this is a case in poor testing.
The building which houses the project ‘Neuadd Idris Hall’, which is owned by Gwynedd Council, has been leased for a £1 peppercorn rent to Siamas Cyf for a period of 100 years.
Gwynedd Council told BBC Wales that it was a matter of disappointment the company had not fully achieved what had been proposed in the original funding application. However the Welsh Government preposterously claims that the initial targets of the overall project have been met as the building (situated in the centre of Dolgellau) is no longer redundant.
This is just another example of a short-sighted approach to governance and a blatant disregard for value for taxpayers' money by the welsh authorities. To argue that the point of the project was to ensure a vacant building was in use, opposed to actually contributing anything to the local economy, is ludicrous. It is about time the Welsh Government took a responsible approach to the public finances, rather than throwing our money around like confetti.