Finance Wales 'Has Increased Investments in Last Year' after Falling PS10m Behind
FINANCE Wales has responded to criticism that the amount it invests into small businesses has fallen since 2009 by saying its investments have actually risen within the last year.
Plaid Cymru said that a Freedom of Information request by one of its AMs revealed that in the 2012-13 financial year up to February 2013, investment by Finance Wales was nearly PS10m less than three years before.
The party said the funding figures released by Finance Wales highlighted the need for a Welsh Government-owned Bank of Wales to be established.
In 2009-10 Finance Wales took out equity of PS9.62m and made loans of PS30.16m to Welsh businesses.
But since then the total investments have fallen, with PS10.94m of equity taken and loans of PS19.35m.
There was just over PS18m awarded in investments of under PS100,000 covering 555 applications.
Plaid Cymru economy spokesman Alun Ffred Jones said: "Small businesses continuously tell us that access to finance is a significant barrier to growth, and yet the Government's efforts are clearly dwindling.
"We know that Finance Wales, even when it does lend, is forced to lend at high rates and is a last resort for businesses struggling with cash flow.
"That is why Plaid Cymru, the Party of Wales, has proposed establishing a new, publicly owned, Bank of Wales to be run at arm's length from government, which would lend to small businesses at competitive rates. If we want to see a private sector recovery, we need urgent action from government."
Lindsay Whittle, Plaid Cymru AM for South Wales East, said that the issue of Finance Wales funding had been raised with him by a constituent, which had prompted the Freedom of Information request. …