British firms blame export delays on access to finance

Export confidence growing among small and medium business but almost a quarter have faced issues securing trade finance or credit insurance

UK businesses are struggling to get exporting plans off the ground and drive economic growth due to problems accessing finance, the British Chambers of Commerce’s (BCC) annual International Trade survey reports.

The research found that almost a quarter of British businesses preparing to export had issues accessing trade finance or credit insurance from lenders to support trading in international markets.

60% of prospective exporters said access to finance was a key factor in deciding whether to trade overseas – 57% of that number being micro firms (fewer than 10 employees), 29% small firms and 14% medium or large firms.

The survey also revealed growing confidence amongst exporters, 90% of whom said that further expansion is a top priority.

John Longworth, BCC director general, said: “A fundamental revolution in our approach to exporting is needed if we are going to reverse our historic trade deficit, overturn our current account deficit and maintain Britain’s position as a leading global trader.

“We already have world-class products and services that are in demand globally – we now need to ensure the door is open for all the UK businesses wanting to trade overseas.

“While support for UK companies to finance exports of goods and services should be further enhanced, we also need to understand why a quarter of the exporting firms surveyed have been unable to access the financial products specifically designed to help them trade overseas.

“There are huge potential rewards for firms that can access overseas markets, but there are also costs associated in exporting. The government needs to ensure that UK Export Finance and the British Business Bank offer world-class support to UK businesses, and remove one of the main barriers to exporting – access to finance.”

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