Hundreds of UK businesses ranging from suppliers of solar batteries to life-saving medical equipment have benefited from £6.5 billion in UK Export Finance (UKEF) support over the last year to break into international markets and grow – supporting up to 55,000 UK jobs and contributing billions of pounds to the economy.
As the UK’s export credit agency, UKEF provides government-backed loans, guarantees and insurance so firms across sectors like life sciences, clean energy and advanced manufacturing can grasp overseas export opportunities that they couldn’t otherwise access. This directly supports the Prime Minister’s priority to grow the economy and create higher-paid jobs, and the UK objective to reach £1 trillion of exports per year by 2030.
The value of all UKEF support added up to £4.1 billion to the economy in the last year. Since 2021, UKEF has provided £13.9 billion to businesses and supported up to 127,000 jobs.
Overall, UKEF is now supporting more SMEs that at any time in the last 30 years. Eighty-four per cent of firms directly supported with a UKEF product were small and medium-sized businesses, while 82 per cent are located outside of London.
Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch said: “Whether it’s supporting the construction of hospitals in Africa or supplying next generation all-electric quad bikes to North America, demand for British products and services remains high.
“UKEF is playing a major role in connecting local firms from all corners of the UK with exciting opportunities beyond our shores where their expertise is needed.
“Trade successes like those delivered by UKEF over the last year are hugely important towards delivering our £1 trillion a year exports target by 2030.”
Many of UKEF’s SME customers over the last 12 months were supported through its General Export Facility – a ‘game-changing’ platform that gives smaller firms access to trade finance options up to £25 million, without the need of a specific export contract.
This includes firms like AceOn based in Telford which received £300,000 of working capital support, allowing the manufacturer of batteries and innovative energy-storage solutions to secure new export contracts in Portugal.
Minister for Exports Lord Offord said: “Exporting businesses are more competitive, pay higher wages and are more profitable.
“It’s been a challenging year for global markets, but there is a clear call for British expertise as nations are thinking bigger and greener too.
“UKEF’s support, through the loans, guarantees and insurance it provides, is vital in helping to get businesses trading and tapping into the trillions of pounds in long-term global exporting opportunities that will help to grow and rebalance our economy.”
UKEF’s capacity has been raised by £10 billion to £60 billion in 2023/24 to help even more businesses to export. Over the coming year, UKEF will continue to innovate and expand its reach to support as many businesses as possible, maximising the impact of its support on individuals and communities in the UK and around the world.
UKEF Chief Executive Tim Reid added: “It’s been a strong year for UKEF, and I’m particularly proud of the transformational impact our support is having on communities in the UK and overseas.
“Looking ahead, we have a clear remit to support more exporting businesses across the UK, particularly smaller firms, and working together with our partners to help drive long-term sustainability across sectors.”
UKEF has also launched a new business-friendly website to make it easier for firms of all sizes to find out more about its services on offer, and to access the finance they need to grow.
UKEF gives British exporters £6.5Bn boost