Government position on exporting is full of contradictions

The Chancellor’s rhetoric over exporting is in stark contrast to his actions. George Osborne yesterday said “Made in Britain” was key to the recovery, yet on Monday he withdrew funding for exporting support.

To add a further contradiction to the mix, back in October he pledged £50 billion in export finance capacity to support British businesses in the autumn statement.  So where is it?

On Monday of this week financial support for exporting was slashed by 75 per cent with immediate effect. It means that an average pot of £6,000 previously available has now been reduced to £2,000.

UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), the government body which delivers the support, surely should be armed with more capability to help our companies to export, according to the October pledge, not less.

As a former International Trade Adviser of 15 years with UKTI in the East Midlands up until September 2013, I know only too well how important matched-funded financial support for exporters is.

Often, businesses are afraid or unwilling to take the first steps to overseas trade. UK companies are scared of the unknown and it is generally accepted that Brits don’t travel, while the Germans, French and Italians are always travelling to established and new export markets. Our competition is ahead of the game.

However, I can assure people that overseas companies like to buy ‘Made in Britain’.

Gaining business overseas is not an instant fix and needs human resource, research, patience and the support from the board. Cutting the funding like this could well cost jobs.

So, as the Chancellor often says, an “export-lead recovery” is essential. But government support is what pushes companies to do business in international markets. It’s the difference between firms exporting or not. Come on George put your money where your mouth is, for the good of ‘Made in Britain’.