Loan export agency to dish out £1.5bn overseas to aid UK firms

Michael Bow
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FOREIGN companies will be given up to £1.5bn of loans by the UK government to encourage them to buy British goods, under plans announced yesterday.

UK Export Finance, led by minister Vince Cable, will get the cash from Treasury coffers to provide loans of up to £50m to any firm overseas that wants to buy from British exporters.

It is the first time the British government has offered direct lines of credit to overseas outfits, and follows similar policies by other government-led credit export agencies.

The Treasury hopes it will boost exports for UK small firms who are keen to tap booming overseas markets. Buyers are often put off from snapping up exports because of squeezing lines of credit.

The agency provided £2.32bn to UK exporters in 2011-12. Trade minister Lord Green yesterday said the new credit facility will make UK businesses “more competitive”.

In addition, chancellor George Osborne announced that a further £70m in funding will be added to the UK Trade & Investment budget each year.

The money is set to be spent by the agency on boosting funding to overseas British Chambers of Commerce as well as a visa system designed to attract overseas entrepreneurs to London.