Over the last six years, UK Trade & Investment has more than doubled the number of businesses that it helps. It now aims to help a further 100,000 firms to export by 2020.
I thank the Minister for her answer, but it did not make it clear what is actually being done to increase exports. The Chancellor promised that his growth strategy would be underpinned by a doubling of exports to £1 trillion by the end of the decade, but to date his targets have been missed, and the export figures are moving in the wrong direction. What will the Government do to turn that dire performance around?
My right hon. Friend the Chancellor mentioned earlier the important work that UKTI is doing in not only promoting the Exporting is GREAT brand around the world, but, now—across the whole Government—encouraging all our embassies around the world to focus their resources on increasing the potential opportunities for our world-class exporters.
22. Is the Minister aware that more than 25% of small businesses in France and Germany export, whereas the figure in the United Kingdom is about 20%? Does she agree that not just UKTI, but chambers of trade and business organisations such as the Federation of Small Businesses, can play a role in encouraging more small firms, in particular, to export? (905210)
My hon. Friend is absolutely right that there is an important role to be played by not only our embassy network, but our chambers of commerce and the Federation of Small Businesses. I also welcome the fact that some of our larger banks have also set themselves targets for getting additional customers to start to export during the next five years.
Is the Minister aware that Huddersfield and Yorkshire are already a northern powerhouse in terms of manufacturing and the quality of partnership with universities? Is she aware that my universities in Yorkshire and the manufacturing sector are terrified that we will leave the European Union? It will bankrupt the universities and the manufacturing sector.
The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right to highlight the fact that the UK’s universities are unanimous in expressing the value that they put not only on higher education, but on the potential for those educated in universities to export in due course. He is absolutely right to highlight the fact that all other trade deals would be worse than the current zero-tariff trade deal that we have as a member of the EU.