10 Oct 2016 03:44pm

Government's efforts to boost exports are failing, says ICAEW

ICAEW has told the international trade secretary Liam Fox that the government’s multi-million campaign to encourage businesses to export is failing

Caption: Two thirds of businesses have never even heard of the UKTI department

According to ICAEW research, 69% of businesses said they had never exported and had no plans to start, despite the government’s five-year campaign to boost the number of businesses selling goods internationally.

Liam Fox was told during a meeting with ICAEW on Monday that the impact of the “Business is Great” campaign has been limited, as 66% of the businesses surveyed had never heard of the UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) department. Moreover, the vast majority (87%) said they do not currently use any of the services offered by the department.

Meanwhile, 34% of the businesses surveyed said they did not expect to actively grow their business within the next 12 months.

Stephen Ibbotson, director, business and commercial, ICAEW, said, “The government’s export drive, originating back in 2010, has had very little impact on the export activity of UK businesses.

“It is clear that Brexit is not to blame for UK businesses having no ambitions to explore the international markets and it is the responsibility of key policy makers to encourage the UK to be a more export-driven economy following its impending withdrawal from the EU.

“Initiatives such as export vouchers would help businesses to kick-start their ambition to grow globally," he added.

Liam Fox had previously indicated that Britain will not remain a member of the single market after it leaves the EU. He said Britain’s “brave and historic” decision to leave the EU would put the UK in a prime position to become a world leader in free trade.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies said that maintaining the UK’s membership in the single market could boost the UK’s GDP by 4% and that new trade deals with non-EU countries were “unlikely to compensate fully for EU trade”.

Today the British Chambers of Commerce said the balance of firms within the service sector reporting improved domestic and export sales was at the lowest level in four years in Q3.

Jessica Fino


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