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Small business benefits from £7.4bn government support to export around the world

British businesses have been helped to export to 61 countries around the world over the past year with £7.4 billion of government support – providing a significant boost to jobs and the UK economy.

Small business benefits from £7.4bn government support to export around the world
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In 2021-22, UK Export Finance increased its support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with the number of SMEs that benefited from a UKEF support scheme increasing by 25 per cent compared to the previous year, with more than 560 insurance and guarantee schemes issued.

In a new annual record, 81 per cent of the companies UKEF supported directly with a scheme were SMEs. These milestones were underpinned by the “game-changing” General Export Facility – a product designed specifically to give SME exporters more flexibility in accessing trade finance, unlocking almost £250 million of working capital loans.

A further £300 million was also awarded to 263 UK companies supplying to infrastructure projects UKEF has financed across the globe, supporting UK exports. These include doors made in Birmingham sold to an airport in Ghana, fridges made in Norfolk sold to a hotel in Dubai and critical medical supplies shipped from South Wales to hospitals in Zambia.

The UKEF also provided £27 million to support importers buying from UK SMEs using its Standard Buyer Loan Guarantee Scheme, ensuring UK companies get paid upfront while overseas buyers benefit from more flexible repayment terms.

The finance provided by UKEF in 2021-22 supported 72,000 UK jobs and added a gross value of £4.3 billion to the economy, meaning more money in people’s pockets and continued job security for British workers.

Of those supported by UKEF, 83 per cent were located outside of London.

The £7.4 billion – the highest level for 14 years brings the total support over the last five years to £33.4 billion.

It helped businesses recover following the pandemic and is now supporting exporters facing challenges with global supply chains worsened by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

As a self-funding department, UKEF takes on risk to make exports happen and works within an agreed framework set by the Treasury to ensure it makes measured decisions.

Since the start of the pandemic, UKEF enhanced its suite of products to meet the changing needs of UK businesses and stimulate exports – providing £8.2 billion of support through its Temporary COVID-19 Risk Framework since its inception.

Throughout this time, the department continued to operate efficiently and manage financial risk to protect the interests of the UK taxpayer in 2021-22, generating a net profit of £324 million for the Treasury.

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