Business Cash Needs Reform; 'Finance Wales Now in Need of Overhaul'
Byline: TOM BODDEN Welsh Affairs Correspondent
THE public financing of business growth in Wales needs major reform as cash fails to reach small enterprises in the credit squeeze, it is claimed today.
The Welsh Conservatives will unveil proposals for 'Invest Wales', a local bank funded through the Welsh Government, to make money available to small businesses.
Meanwhile Plaid Cymru is calling for a new 'Bank of Wales' business bank to help small and medium sized businesses grow.
The Welsh Government funded investment body Finance Wales pumped PS27.5m into businesses in 2011-12, with 137 investments.
But critics claim that Finance Wales has failed to effectively reach out to the business sector.
The Conservative proposals would create six local 'banks' operating under the Invest Wales board, working in conjunction with existing retail banks.
The party would reform Finance Wales and implement a new funding model, in six regions of Wales to improve the understanding of the local economy.
Successful loan applications fell by 24% in the UK between 2007 and 2010, while the Federation of Small Businesses reported that Wales has the lowest business confidence of any region of the UK, except Northern Ireland.
A 2012 survey by the Federation of Small Businesses reported that 64% of businesses had never heard of Finance Wales and only 4% had secured any support. …