THE Wrexham-based Development Bank of Wales is continuing to generate millions of pounds for the Welsh economy - and safeguard thousands of jobs.

Clwyd South MS Ken Skates led the creation of the UK's first regional development bank during his time as the Welsh Government's Economy Minister.

Last week he asked his successor Vaughan Gething for an update on the Development Bank's performance and was told it is making 'strong progress'.

Mr Skates is now urging a future UK Labour Government to adopt the model of regional banks.

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Mr Gething said: "Half-year results issued by the bank show it is making strong progress, making 239 investments totalling £51m - investments which are creating and safeguarding 1,718 jobs. The bank continues to play a vital role helping businesses across Wales access the finance needed to develop, grow and progress sustainability goals."

The Development Bank, based at Yale Business Village, was set up by the Welsh Government to make it easier for Welsh businesses to get the finance they need to start up, strengthen and grow. It can offer loans of £1,000 to £10m and equity investment from £50,000-£10m for established businesses and co-invests alongside banks, crowd funders, grants, investors and other lenders.

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Mr Skates has previously said the Development Bank's success 'is in no doubt due to the fact that the bank was headquartered in Wrexham rather than Cardiff'.

He added: "The Development Bank has performed beyond even our expectations, especially in Wrexham and North Wales where it has helped to grow businesses and attract investment.

"Throughout the pandemic and since, the Development Bank has supported a huge number of businesses in our region. In fact, it has helped a disproportionate number of small businesses in Wrexham and across North Wales since its creation."

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Wrexham's Member of the Senedd, Lesley Griffiths, said: "The Development Bank is a fantastic Welsh Labour Government initiative that could have been located anywhere in the country but I am proud it is based in Wrexham.

"Since it launched in 2018, the Development Bank has directly invested more than £500m in Welsh businesses and supported almost 33,000 jobs in the process. It also provided a crucial lifeline to many local and regional businesses during the pandemic.

"The Development Bank is a real success story and there is no reason this initiative could not be repeated across the UK."

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Mr Skates added: "I strongly believe this is a model which could and should be adopted and replicated across the UK. I would urge a future UK Labour Government at Westminster to look to Wales and do exactly that and create regional banks across the United Kingdom."

Mr Skates said the Development Bank was created to operate 'where there was market failure' and to support economic opportunity by making finance available to viable businesses.

The bank had an impact of £1.2bn in its first five years which the Clwyd South MS said 'simply wouldn't be in the Welsh economy otherwise'.