Exports to miss Osborne’s 2020 £1 trillion target

Tim Wallace
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BRITISH businesses need to double the rate of export growth if they are to hit the government’s targets for rebalancing the economy over the rest of this decade, according to a report out today from think tank Reform.

Exports in 2013 are expected to come in at just above £500bn – well below the £1 trillion the chancellor George Osborne wants to hit by 2020.

The study found exports are growing at around five per cent per year, too slow to hit the target.

And in key groups, such as small- and medium-sized firms, the number of exporters is down. Before the crisis 24 per cent exported, but in 2012 just 19 per cent did.

Barclays’ chief Antony Jenkins contributed to the report, urging the government to improve access to new markets.

“Export policy is as fundamental to creating sustainable growth in the economy as access to finance or regulatory simplification,” Jenkins said.

“This report’s message to government and larger companies is clear: supporting access to new markets must be a fundamental goal of interventions on behalf of UK business.”

The report’s publication is timed to coincide with UK Trade and Investment’s (UKTI) Export Week, a promotion of export-related services and support on offer from the government and other groups.