The chancellor Philip Hammond has promised to make it easier for British firms to access export finance in his first Autumn Statement speech.
In an announcement to MPs in the House of Commons on 23 November, Hammond said he would double the capacity of the country’s export credit agency, UK Export Finance.
“I am doubling UK Export Finance capacity to make it easier British businesses to export,” the chancellor stated.
UK Export Finance works alongside the Department for International Trade to help British firms win more export contracts by “providing attractive financing terms” to would-be buyers.
It also works to support companies fulfill export obligations with working capital financing, and protects exporters by insuring against buyers defaulting.
Small businesses have welcomed the government’s renewed commitment to exporting.
In a statement, national chairman at The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), Mike Cherry, said: “We back the doubling of UK export finance.”
In his speech, Hammond made several other commitments to UK businesses aimed at boosting international trade.
The chancellor pledged an additional £400m to finance venture capital funds via the government-led British Business Bank (BBB), that he claimed would provide £1bn in new finance available to growing companies.
A further £2bn per year was set aside for UK research, development and innovation, whilst Hammond also through his weight behind plans to improve management skills amongst small businesses.
It is hoped a more attractive exporting environment will provide greater opportunities for business expansion.
Commenting on the announcement, president Western Union Business Solutions, a cross-border payments firm, Kerry Agiasotis, said: “Coupled with a relatively weak sterling, the UK doubling its export finance capacity in the represents a real opportunity for ambitious firms wanting to connect and trade with new overseas markets.
Lee Murphy, owner of Pandle, added: “One of the major concerns to come out of Brexit has been on exports, with companies now having to consider separate licences for all the countries with which they wish to export their goods or services to.
“By doubling the UK Export Finance capacity, British SMEs will have a much easier time exporting to foreign markets, and also a great incentive to help tackle the trade deficit.”
Small businesses not exporting despite success stories
Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest from Business Advice.