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Welsh Government sets out mission for more prosperous, equal and greener economy

 

Town centres are to be the focus of the Welsh Government’s “mission” for post-Covid economic recovery.

This includes making available an additional £270m to support business through the Development Bank of Wales. Operating alongside other Development Bank support, this represents a major investment in accessible finance for business and will help Welsh firms focus on their long term success.

The Welsh Government will today publish its Economic Resilience and Reconstruction Mission which sets out how it will work to rebuild Wales’ post Covid economy so that it values and prioritises wellbeing, drives prosperity, is environmentally sound, and helps every person in Wales to realise their potential.

The mission will set out the values and priorities that will shape the Welsh Government’s decisions now and in the future so that people, businesses and Wales’ communities are supported to succeed and prosper.

Priorities include strengthening the everyday sectors of the Welsh economy, increasing the incidence of fair work across Wales and reinvigorating our town centres.

There is also a focus on supporting firms to innovate and diversify, speeding up business decarbonisation and investing in climate resilient infrastructure.

The Welsh Government is also announcing an additional £270m for the Development Bank of Wales’s Flexible Investment Fund, bringing the total invested through this fund to £500m by 2030. Boosting the fund will improve the supply of long-term, accessible business finance and help more firms to grow and expand. The fund can make debt and equity investments of between £25k and £10m, including 15 year loans, to SMEs and non-SMEs.

Economy Minister Ken Skates said: “This last year has been incredibly difficult for everyone and while our vital work to combat the virus goes on, it is important to consider what comes next.

“We have an opportunity to look to the future and reconstruct the economy with the fundamental goal of achieving long term well-being with dignity and fairness for people.

“We will do this by strengthening the everyday economy, delivering on our Covid Commitment to support people in improving skills and gaining employment, and by helping businesses meet the challenges and opportunities of today and tomorrow. We will also maximise sustainable investment in Wales and fortify our pursuit of fair work and social value with businesses and organisations who receive public funding.

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“The additional £270m funding for the Development Bank will support businesses the length and breadth of Wales, creating and protecting thousands of jobs for individuals as we seek to deal with the long-term challenges of Covid and Brexit.”

As part of the mission, the Welsh Government will maximise future major investments through ‘magnet projects’, which will attract longer term investments and provide important employment, skills, and innovation and development opportunities.

The Welsh Government’s Covid Commitment will ensure the impact of the pandemic leaves nobody behind and that there is every possible opportunity for people to retrain and upskill in new and high-growth areas.

The Economic Contract will also be refreshed and strengthened helping businesses to embed fair work, low carbon and climate resilience into their operations.

Ian Price, CBI Wales Director, said: “The goal to deliver a competitive and sustainable economy that raises living standards, promotes higher pay, and delivers the revenues we need to support public priorities is the right one for Wales.

“But the Welsh Government can’t do that alone. From promoting diversity and inclusion to improving mental health, championing green behaviours to inspiring the next generation; business must continue to be a true partner of government. At its best, business is an engine of progress that will play a crucial role in overcoming the pandemic and building a better Welsh economy.

“Additional sources of accessible finance are welcome and represent an important investment in the Welsh business community, one that will be repaid through jobs, growth and, ultimately, delivering a more prosperous Wales.”

Plaid Cymru’s economy spokeswoman, Helen Mary Jones, said the Welsh Government’s plan was “a pale imitation” of her party’s £6bn Welsh Green Deal, which claims to see 60,000 jobs created.

“Twenty years of a Labour government in Wales has been characterised by a failure of delivery,” she said.

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