International Trade

Autumn Statement 2014: First time exporters to receive £45m package

3 min read

03 December 2014

To achieve the UK’s ambition to increase exports to £1tn by 2020, more companies need to start exporting either for the first time or in new markets. This was one of the key messages delivered by George Osborne today in the Autumn Statement.

According to Federation of Small Businesses research, if more SMEs were to export their products an additional £792m could be added to the UK’s economy each year. And with the government’s ambitious target to get 100,000 new businesses exporting by 2020, it’s no wonder that exports was an emphasised topic area on this year’s statement.

He begins by explaining that “the warning lights are flashing over the global economy. Japan is in recession, the Eurozone is stagnating, and the geopolitical risks are rising.”

Of course, this has led OBR to revise their forecast for global growth this year, “and they note that the slowdown is particularly acute in our main export markets, such as Europe, where growth is a full one per cent lower this year than previously forecast.”

As one of the most open, trading economies in the world, Britain cannot be immune to the risks in the global economy. And in order to address the unique barriers to exporting that first time exporters face through tailored regional support, Osborne has announced that a £45m package be made available to exporters.

Trade Minister Lord Livingston said: “Companies often need help to get started on their export journey.

“This new money will enable UKTI to focus on first time exporters, helping them overcome the barriers they face through specialist regional trade advisors, interactive workshops, grants and much more.”

This includes a new incubator service to prepare them for exporting and to encourage them to consider international trade as an integral part of their business planning and future success and new grant funding to help them prepare and take their first steps as exporters, by contributing to the initial costs that often put off potential exporters.

“It also makes it even more imperative that we connect British firms to the faster growing emerging economies of Asia, Africa and South America,” said Osborne, who explained that some SMEs would receive cash to help them export to these economies.

Carl Hasty, director of SmartCurrencyBusiness.com, believes that it is encouraging that the Chancellor has addressed the issue of exports not reaching the government’s initial target of £1tn by 2020. 

“The government needs to provide more support to UK businesses so that they can export to countries outside of the Eurozone, an economy which is currently stagnating. The proposed £45m is welcome, but companies still need more defined guidance on a number of issues, including breaking down barriers to entry, as well as guidance on how to save costs when embarking upon exporting.”