1. Wales

Parties urge Welsh business bank

Welsh Conservatives and Plaid Cymru outline competing plans to help small businesses get better and quicker access to government loans.

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Welsh Conservatives to unveil new bank plan

Small businesses would be able to lend taxpayers' money from a new bank with a network of High Street branches under plans to be outlined later by the Welsh Conservatives. They say companies are struggling to get finance from mainstream banks and from the Welsh Government's Finance Wales agency.

The party's plan involves the creation of what would effectively be a new bank to be called 'Invest Wales' which would channel Welsh Government loans to small and medium-sized companies to enable them to invest and expand. There'd be six lower tiers of the bank focussing on different regions.

The proposals also envisage high street branches in the main towns and cities which would be set up in conjunction with existing retail banks. Paul Davies, Shadow Finance Minister, said 'Invest Wales' would be a better way of channeling much-needed public money to businesses:

Many in the business community agree that Finance Wales is not fit for purpose and is not delivering the business support in a readily accessible way.

Invest Wales would be a local bank on a national stage, which could deliver the resources a business needs swiftly and efficiently, subject to robust and proper scrutiny to ensure value for money for the Welsh taxpayer.

Our proposals would deliver improved rates of responsible lending because a partnership with the Welsh Government would reduce the risk for banks.

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