Call for support in autumn statement

A Shropshire shipping expert is calling on the Chancellor to include more support to help small and medium-sized businesses trade internationally in his autumn statement later this month.

Nicole Gunter, managing director of Telford-based Global Freight, has helped thousands of small businesses to import and export goods across the globe – but says SMEs will need help to target new markets in a post-Brexit era.

Nicole, who also sits on the Board of Shropshire Chamber of Commerce, is backing calls from the British Chamber of Commerce for the Government to cut back on red tape and financially support companies wanting to start or expand export programmes.

“It is great to see export on the increase, but this is largely due to the weaker pound and there’s no certainty for businesses when the exchange rate is so volatile.

“The Chancellor has an opportunity to address this issue in the Autumn Statement. Philip Hammond knows that one of the best ways to make sure businesses don’t hold off pending export deals or delay entering new markets is by demonstrating Government support, but this support needs to be tangible.

The British Chambers of Commerce Quarterly International Trade Outlook released this week says many firms are acting cautiously due to the uncertainty surrounding Brexit negotiations.

Adam Marshall, BCC director general, said: “Our data suggests that slower growth is likely to come in the months ahead. However, it is important to note that while the UK’s economic growth may slow further, we are unlikely to enter a recession.

“To fire up the animal spirits of our exporters, and boost business confidence, the Chancellor should use the Autumn Statement to improve direct financial support for firms looking to access new markets without bureaucracy or delay.

“Enabling businesses to attend trade missions, trade fairs, commission market research or make themselves export ready would be a shot in the arm for our trade performance at a time of uncertainty.”