Opinion: More help for businesses on the way

Lord Livingston, the former CEO of BT, hasn't been sitting on his laurels since being appointed minister of state for trade and investment in December.

by Andy McLaughlin, chartered financial planner, Astute Wealth Management.

This week he announced that he will be personally writing to all of the UK’s 8,900 medium sized businesses in the UK to ask them if they would like support from UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) to help them to export.

Evidence shows that exporters are more successful with UKTI’s help and on average, medium-sized businesses can increase their sales by £1.8m.

Supporting business is a vital part of the government’s recovery strategy and businesses with turnover of £25m to £500m pa currently contribute 20 per cent of the UK’s turnover & employment. However, only 17 per cent of these businesses generate income from outside the EU, compared to 30 per cent in Italy, so there is certainly scope for development.

Lord Livingston will be making personal contact with all medium-sized businesses to find out what the government can do to help them to compete with the best the rest of the world has to offer.

“Businesses excel with UKTI’s support and we want to make sure that they are not just trading abroad, but thriving there,” he said. Another good source of help for businesses is their bank. Most of which employ trained specialists in international trade who are able to advise businesses wishing to be involved in trading overseas on managing the risks associated with the complexities of international trade.