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A Government-funded agency's promotion of rural Wales to thousands of businessmen in England with the lure of half-price factories and low rents, had English regions and MPs crying foul yesterday. English regions, annoyed at 30,000 brochures mailed to executives in their areas extolling the virtues of setting up in rural Wales, called for the rules to be tightened up to prevent what they see as job poaching.

The Development Board for Rural Wales was accused of encouraging industrialists to leapfrog across the country at the taxpayers' expense. Conservative MPs in the West Country were furious enough to ask Secretary of State for Wales, William Hague, to intervene. However, the DBRW was unrepentant and said they had the job of promoting the area. Last year 26 firms moved to mid-Wales from other areas of the UK.