Business development · 30 October 2015

Government’s 1trn export target “pie in the sky and unachievable”

Sajid Javid has admitted the 1trn figure is hugely ambitious?
Sajid Javid has admitted the 1trn figure is hugely ambitious?
Iain Wright, chairman of the BIS committee, has called the government’s target of 1trn exports by 2020 pie in the sky? and unachievable, as UK Trade and Investment faces scrutiny from a panel of MPs to see if it’s doing all it can in the way of boosting British exports.

Parliament’s Business, Innovation and Skills committee will look at the department’s efforts to achieve chancellor George Osborne’s goal, as exports still linger around 500bn a year, with Britain’s trade deficit widening.

Wright announced the inquiry saying: The government committed itself to 1trn of exports by 2020, but few expect this to be achieved. The secretary of state himself appears to believe the target is pie in the sky and unachievable.

Earlier this month, business secretary Sajid Javid said that while the 1trn figure was ‘still our ambition, he acknowledged it was hugely ambitious?, and to hit it, the UK would need annual growth never before seen in this country.

Appearing before MPs on the Commons Business Select Committee, Javid said he can’t tell you where it [exports] will be versus the target, although obviously I want it to be as close as possible.

He added it wouldn’t be wise for me to guess.

Wright said the inquiry would look into whether UKTI was fit for purpose? and making the maximum possible impact? in increasing exports.

In Osborne’s 2012 Budget speech, he set the export target, reiterating the call for a march of the makers? to help resettle the UK economy and increase sales of goods overseas. UKTI was meant to be driving the campaign.

Wright added that the government’s lack of belief in their own export goal’ appears to be borne out by the plight of the UKTI the very body charged with driving efforts to reach the 1trn target which is facing the prospect of a significantly ‘downgraded’ role.



Rebecca is a reporter for Business Advice. Prior to this, she worked with a range of tech, advertising, media and digital clients at Propeller PR and did freelance work for The Telegraph.