UK: Chamber boss calls for focus on exports

John Longworth

John Longworth - Credit: Archant

The Government has been urged to help businesses focus on exports to help boost the UK’s economic growth.

John Longworth, director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said the country needed a “bedrock” for recovery.

He will tell a BCC conference in London: “There is no question in my mind that the UK economy is improving. As a leading forecaster on the economy, the British Chambers of Commerce predicted 1.3 % growth in 2013, 2.2% in 2014 and 2.5% in 2015.

“We have good growth in prospect. Just good growth, when we could have truly great growth.

“We should be aiming for north of 3% and why not? We have all the talent, the enterprise, the know-how and the creativity we need for a truly great economy. But to really utilise this, we need an environment that supports enterprise, and that means not just any old growth, but the right kind - for a long-term, sustainable and wealth-creating economy.

“The Prime Minister has talked about the vital need to rebalance the economy. Part of that rebalancing is towards exports.”

Mr Longworth will say enterprises should have access to finance to help win orders from home and overseas.

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“The whole of UK spending on trade support is just £317 million of which export support receives around £236 million. The Government spends 25 times as much of taxpayers’ money on overseas aid as it does on export support. Grossly underfunded by comparison with competitor nations,” he will add.

Shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna will tell the conference that a national trade strategy was needed.

“We have to be better at making goods and services the world wants; better at selling them; and better at engaging with the world, to facilitate this. Making more of the goods and services people around the world want to buy is a key part to building sustainable growth.”