Ukip’s conference venue received hundreds of thousands of pounds of EU cash

Nigel Farage launches conference with plans to become the official opposition at the Welsh Assembly

Jon Stone@joncstone
Saturday 06 December 2014 16:33

The country estate where Ukip is holding its first Welsh party conference received hundreds of thousands of pounds in EU money.

Local protesters outside the venue pointed out that Margam Park, a historic country estate where Ukip’s conference is taking place, received £218,000 of money from the European Regional Development Fund.

Ukip wants to withdraw from the European Union, which it says costs Britain billions of pounds a year.

The money was allocated two years ago and was spent renovating the estate’s historic buildings, including the Orangery venue in which the conference is taking place.

Margam Park is more than 800 years old and is Port Talbot’s biggest tourist attraction, pulling in around 200,0000 visitors a year.

The European Union agency’s contribution was allocated alongside a separate £1.6m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The European Regional Development Fund says it “aims to strengthen economic and social cohesion in the European Union by correcting imbalances between its regions”.

With many deprived areas, Wales will receive around £2bn of European Structural Funds between this year and 2020, according to the Welsh Government's European Funding Office.

Leader Nigel Farage spoke at the conference, telling members of Ukip’s Welsh party that it was targeting seven or eight seats in Wales at the 2015 general election.

The eurosceptic party would launch a “massive assault” at the next Welsh Assembly elections in 2016 and that the party could become the official opposition at the devolved administration.

“We should go into those elections with a genuine belief we can be the opposition party in Cardiff Bay,” he said.

“Our progress electorally and organisationally in Wales is fantastic. We've trebled our membership here.”

Earlier this year Mr Farage took legal advice over what he described as “outrageous” allegations concerning his use of the European Union expenses he receives as a Member of the European Parliament (MEP).

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