The Welsh Labour Government today announced that it would ‘explore the idea of a Development Bank for Wales’ within minutes of the publication of the worst ambulance response times since April 2013.
According to the Welsh Government’s website, a decision to investigate a Development Bank for Wales was taken on 16th January, but was only published this morning.
In January 2013, Welsh Conservatives launched plans for a regional network of local investment banks to improve access to finance and provide impartial business advice.
Figures published at 9.30am this morning showed a 6% drop in ambulance response times to 57.6%, the lowest figure since April 2013.
Commenting on the timing of Labour’s announcement, Nick Ramsay AM, Shadow Minister for Business, said, "Within minutes of the publication of the worst ambulance response times for nearly a year, Labour Ministers have cynically tried to bury bad news by announcing a decision they took a fortnight ago.
"Yet again Labour Ministers are trying to avoid being held to account for their appalling record of 15 years of mismanagement of the Welsh NHS by covering up evidence of failure.
"Labour Ministers sat on their decision for a Development Bank for two weeks and are now trying to distract attention from the poor ambulance service that Labour has delivered for Welsh patients."
Commenting on support for a Development Bank for Wales, Nick Ramsay said, "This is recognition that Finance Wales is not fit for purpose and is in need of reform.
"It is welcome that a year after unveiling Welsh Conservative plans to make it easier for businesses to source funding to invest in their business, expand and create new jobs, the Welsh Government appears to have come round to our way of thinking.
"Small businesses are the backbone of the Welsh economy and need support now to accelerate the economic recovery create even more job opportunities.
"Unless small businesses can access finance swiftly when they need it, our economy will be held back.
"Wales’ economic competitors in the global race are not sat around waiting for Labour Ministers to act, so we need a clear statement of intent about whether and when this Development Bank will actually come to fruition.
"While we welcome progress on a new development bank for Wales, the Minister has pre-judged the findings of an Assembly committee inquiry and has yet to provide evidence that warm words on reform will soon be turned into action."