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Export Statistics Update

Volume 747: debated on Tuesday 26 March 2024

On 31 March 2021, the previous Government published their policy on support for the fossil fuel sector overseas[1]. As part of this, the Government set out that they would withdraw all new financial and promotional support for the fossil fuel energy sector overseas, with very limited exemptions.

Since the introduction of this policy, the Government can confirm that no such overseas fossil fuel projects have received financial funding or support from UK Export Finance; nor have they received any Government investment. However, I regret to inform the House that we have recently discovered that a limited number of projects did receive other support that contravened this policy in the period between April 2021 and October 2023. Support typically focused on market entry and trade promotion advice.

During this period, 134 projects worth £747 million were recorded as having been supported by departmental officials in some capacity. These 134 projects are a small proportion (1.00%) of the 13,457 projects, and the £0.747 billion of export wins are similarly a small proportion (1.35%) of the total value of £55.342 billion of exports in these years.

None of these projects were subject to the approval of Government Ministers, and Ministers were not made aware of these projects until the discrepancies were discovered recently by officials. The projects were, however, included in the Government’s “Export Wins” data between 2021 and 2023.

My Department has taken steps to rectify and remedy the issue. We have put in place additional measures, checks and reporting to ensure that all staff understand and adhere to the policy and can demonstrate clearly that no support is being given that contravenes the policy.

We have also written to colleagues who were inadvertently given incorrect information.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-the-government-will-implement-its-policy-on-support-for-the-fossil-fuel-energy-sector-overseas

[HCWS383]