FSB urges Government to give export vouchers to small businesses

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The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is calling on the Department for International Trade and the Treasury to give small firms export vouchers to promote exporting in the wake of Brexit. Anna Tobin reports

The FSB is recommending that the Government issue vouchers up to the value of £3,000 to help small firms with exporting costs, including: investments in translation services, additional market research, and finding new clients through overseas trade fairs.

FSB research shows that the potentially positive impact of the depreciation in Sterling on exporters has been offset by the volatility in Sterling and the uncertainty surrounding a Brexit deal. It found that over half (53%) of smaller business exporters to the EU believe their business continuity and growth will be negatively impacted by a No Deal Brexit on Halloween.

Of those smaller businesses that export that have prepared for a no deal scenario, the average cost of preparations is £2,880, rising to £3,000 for those businesses that import and or export

“Exporting is a critical part of the British economy, especially to small firms hoping to expand and grow their businesses. But in order to succeed, it’s time that the Government stepped in and gave small firms the help that they need in order to realise their exporting ambitions,” said Mike Cherry, the FSB’s national chairman.

“The introduction of export vouchers up to the value of £3,000 will alleviate some of the strains that exporting firms are facing at the current time. Small businesses are being made to wait for the updated publication of the Government’s revised UK tariff schedule that would apply in the event of a no deal Brexit scenario, which must be published as a matter of urgency. This will allow smaller businesses to understand the terms on which they may be trading with the EU and indeed the rest of the world from the 31 October, in the event of a no deal scenario.

“The continued uncertainty is harming small firms ability to plan and prepare for the future with 40% of small business exporters saying that the uncertainty has had a negative impact on their future exporting ambitions.

“Around 21% of small firms currently export, but with additional assistance from the Government, FSB believes that those numbers could double.

“The use of these incentives will help on a number of fronts ranging from investment costs for items like translation services as well as additional market research and fact finding visits. These financial incentives are a great way to support our small firms that want to begin their exporting journey as well as those looking for ways to increase their exporting potential.”

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