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SMEs: Trade with the EU

Volume 718: debated on Thursday 21 July 2022

11. What steps she is taking with Cabinet colleagues to support small and medium-sized enterprises trading with the EU. (901232)

Small and medium-sized businesses make up a huge part of Britain’s economy, accounting for over 60% of employment and more than half of all turnover from the UK private sector. The Department for International Trade is doing all it can to help businesses overcome the barriers that the protectionist bloc of the European Union now imposes when consumers seek to buy goods from elsewhere in the world.

The only thing that Brexit has brought for many small businesses in Bath is increased costs, paperwork and border delays, as has been confirmed by the Public Accounts Committee—more barriers, not less. Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy. Will the Government please reintroduce the SME Brexit support fund, with a simplified application process and a significantly expanded remit?

I am proud of the endeavours of my colleagues and those in local enterprise partnerships up and down the UK in disbursing the £38 million internationalisation fund to support businesses as we go through some of the changes that result from leaving the European Union and seek opportunities elsewhere in the world. I will of course undertake to look at any way we can make it simpler for small businesses, in particular, to engage with the Department.