'Go Past Rhetoric and Examine Financial Reality' HART CALLS FOR REVIEW TO HELP GUIDE ECONOMIC POLICY
Byline: SION BARRY Business Editor email@example.com
THE Welsh Government yesterday confirmed a review into whether high street banks are meeting the funding needs of SMEs.
As reported in the Western Mail yesterday the review will explore potential sources of finance to support the business community in Wales.
The review, which is expected to take around nine months to complete, is being lead by Professor Dylan Jones-Evans of the University of Wales - who is also a Western Mail columnist and founder and director of the Wales Fast Growth 50 initiative.
Business Minister Edwina Hart said: "Access to external finance for business start-ups and investment for growth in Welsh businesses is fundamental to sustainable economic growth.
"The Welsh Government is particularly keen to ensure that SMEs in Wales can access the finance they need to sustain their current operations and support their growth ambitions.
"I am delighted that Professor Dylan Jones-Evans has agreed to undertake this review of access to business finance in Wales and anticipate there will be important findings for economic policy."
Professor Jones-Evans said: "There is considerable concern that the economic recovery in Wales is being held back because of the lack of capital for business to develop and grow.
"Whilst SMEs are arguing that they cannot access funding from financial institutions, organisations such as banks are saying the opposite, suggesting that there is plenty of funding available to support the sector.
"This review will try and move past the rhetoric and examine the reality of the situation, the solutions required to getting capital flowing into the Welsh business community and what the Welsh Government can do to facilitate and support this process."
Prof Jones Evans said review would also examine the role played by intermediaries like accountants and lawyers.
He said: "It you look at any entrepreneurial ecosystem in the world, intermediaries play a vital role in linking growth-focused companies with finance from providers.
"We will be examining whether intermediaries in Wales are playing this role effectively and if not what support might be required."
He said the review couldn't be limited to the Welsh marketplace but would have to place Wales in a UK context - including whether a centralisation of banking expertise in London was having a negative impact of lending to firms in other parts of the country.
He added "We will be talking to the UK Government's Department for Business Innovation and Skills and officials at Treasury, as well as senior UK bankers. …