The Commission was set up last year to consider reforms to the UK banking sector to promote financial stability and competition. The ICB will be in Cardiff tonight at the Pierhead in Cardiff Bay to debate and hear evidence.
Mr Jones will say,
“The Welsh Assembly Government was very keen for the Commission to visit Wales as part of their evidence gathering and I am delighted we are able to host your visit. Our focus today is on leading Wales out of recession and we are profoundly aware of the important role our banking sector has to play.
“Making sure that Welsh businesses have sufficient access to commercial finance will be critical to our economic renewal. That is why I am already looking at where there are barriers in both supply and demand. We are also identifying where we can work with the private sector to address them.
“There is a recognised gap in the provision of growth finance for SMEs, and I am looking in particular at whether the new Business Growth Fund will fill this gap. More widely I recognise the importance of the financial and professional services sector to Wales and the opportunities for growth that exist – which is why financial and professional services have been identified as one of the six sectors we will be focusing on in future.
“Devolution gave us the chance to tackle the recession in our own way and a series of All-Wales Economic Summits ensured face to face contacts between the banks, business and government, bringing us all together in a common cause.
“We’ve worked with banks to publish a Ten Point Plan to assist businesses to secure or renegotiate loans, and of course the Assembly Government continues to meet regularly with senior representatives of the high street banks to ensure their input.”