Cash famine continues to dampen buoyant exports 

Although more than seven out of ten UK exporters report increased overseas sales, lack of finance is seen as a “major barrier to growth” with two out of three companies using their own funds, according to the Institute of Export’s 2012 international trade survey.

Firms questioned say export growth to lift the UK economy out of recession is being slowed by the banks’ inability to fund overseas orders despite more security being made available by UK Export Finance. Although 42 per cent of firms have heard of the scheme only 6 per cent have benefitted from it.

Companies with a turnover below £5 million are the hardest hit by lack of bank support.

Nearly three quarters of firms report stronger order books this year. Around 80 per cent say that exporting is very important to their business and around the same number have a five year growth plan for exports. Along with a cash shortage firms trading internationally say that a shortage of skilled staff is also hampering their performance.

The irony, according to the IoE, is that while few companies question the levels of government support, they report that the money has not yet reached the firms which would most benefit. 

Exporting businesses strongly believe that available support is spread too thinly. There is a feeling that this should be directed towards increasing overseas sales of existing successful exporters rather than launch new exporters.