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Written Statement - Update on the Review of the Availability of Funding for SMEs  

Edwina Hart, Minister for Economy, Science and Transport

Following my Oral Statement on 12 November, I am writing to provide Members with an update.

Professor Dylan Jones-Evans’s Stage 2 report was made available for public consultation. Over 100 responses have been received from the consultation.  

It may not be possible to publish the responses in full given the commercial nature and sensitive information given by respondents.   My Officials are currently making the necessary checks and I will advise Members further once I have received the appropriate advice.   I will then provide more detail on my response to those recommendations.

In the interim, I want to inform Members that I will be exploring further the proposal for a development bank for Wales, as I said in my Oral Statement in November.  

The report recommended that the Welsh Government should create a development bank for Wales which draws together the various sources of public sector funding in Wales and utilises them alongside private sector finance solutions.

The report called for an immediate review by the Welsh Government into the feasibility of this approach to ensure that a viable and coherent solution is put into place as quickly as possible.

This is a major proposal and therefore requires serious and thorough consideration.  I am pleased therefore to inform you that I have asked Professor Jones-Evans to lead a further review that will explore this concept in more depth and provide me with a report on his findings.

The final terms of reference are still being agreed with Professor Jones-Evans but his work will explore the potential mission, role and operations that such an organisation could undertake; the legal and state aid framework required to establish and operate; the necessary skills, experience and costs; and the relative risks and rewards.

I will provide a further update to Members shortly.