Available lending for export finance to UK businesses is to double to £3bn.
In today’s Budget, chancellor George Osborne said the move would mean the UK would have the “most competitive export finance in Europe” and also announced that interest rates charged on that lending will be cut by a third, to its lowest permitted levels.
The Budget also committed the government to becoming more proactive in its support of UK businesses who want to expand globally along with more effective marketing of UK Export Finance to promote awareness of its services.
Mr Osborne said the country’s exports have grown and the Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts future growth, adding that the UK’s combined export goods to Brazil, India and China “have risen faster than our competitors”.
However he said: “We’re starting from a low base and we’ve got many lost years to catch up.”
Figures from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills for Q4 2013 showed that exports of construction materials fell by 2.8 per cent over the quarter, with imports also down, by 5.1 per cent, meaning that the trade gap between the two narrowed by £129m to £1.74bn.
Other moves to help UK businesses included a reform of Air Passenger Duty meaning the expulsion of the two higher tax bands covering flights to countries over 4,000 miles from Britain.
The move cuts taxes on flights to emerging markets such as China, India and Brazil. It means that all long haul flights would have the same lower band of tax than flying to the USA, and private jets will now be taxed at six times the level of rates applying to economy class.
Mr Osborne said: “Because we want all parts of our country to see better links with the markets of the future we’re going to provide start-up support for new routes from regional airports, like Liverpool, Leeds or indeed Inverness.”
He added: “I want the message to go out that we are backing our exporters – so that wherever you are around the world you can’t fail to see: Made in Britain.”