Chancellor George Osborne set out measures to boost business exports as he focused on “makers, doers and savers” in the 2014 Budget.
He said the Government will double export finance lending to £3bn and cut interest rates on it by a third to make it more accessible to UK businesses.
In his speech, the Chancellor said: “We’re not going to have a secure economic future if Britain doesn’t earn its way in the world. We need our businesses to export more, build more, invest more and manufacture more.
“First, exports. Our exports have grown each year. Our combined goods exports to Brazil, India and China have risen faster than those of our competitors. But we’re starting from a low base and we’ve got many lost years to catch up.
“Britain has to up its game – and today we do. With Stephen Green, and now Ian Livingston, we’re expanding the reach and support UKTI offers British businesses.
“But for many firms the truth is you can only win the contract if you are backed by competitive export finance. For decades the British government has been the last port of call, when we should be backing British businesses wanting to sell abroad.
Today we fundamentally change that. And we’re going to start with the finance we provide our exporters. We will double the amount of lending available to £3 billion.
And I can announce that from today the interest rates we charge on that lending will be cut by a third. Instead of having the least competitive export finance in Europe. We will have the most competitive.”
His speech was welcomed by Nicole Howarth, managing director of award-winning international trade company Global Freight.
She said: “Overseas trade, particularly in emerging markets, could be a lifeline for many small businesses. Today’s announcement will see extended reach and support through UKTI but importantly, the Chancellor included real financial support.
“Exporters seeking to break into complex markets incur high, upfront investment costs in critical areas such as research and development and travel. By doubling the lending limit for exporters to £3 billion and cutting the repayment on those loans by one third, the Government is supporting the increasing the number of SMEs trading internationally.
“Britain is in a global race but successful export growth will only be sustained if SMEs receive support to help them do that.”