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As the UK economy struggles, Lord Green has doubled the number of small businesses in the UK to be assisted by the UK Trade and Investment agency over the next three years. In the original plans, the target for national export assistance to small businesses was 25,000 by 2015. Lord Green has announced that the figure will now be doubled to 50,000. The Export Credit Guarantee department will also be renamed UK Export Finance. This agency provides insurance to protect export companies whose overseas clients don’t pay.

According to Lord Green, a number of new products had been launched by the UKTI agency this year, to provide insurance and finance guarantee but take up has been lower than expected. He believes this is due to the business community not being aware of the agency and what they do. Although Lord Green realises that export isn’t suitable for all businesses, he does consider future growth to be dependent on exporting.

The increased focus on exportation comes as official figures reveal the value of imported goods and services increased in September, compared with August, However, the number of exported goods and services fell in September. The chief economist at the British Chambers of Commerce, David Kern said:

“Unless growth in exports accelerates, and British businesses gain market share from imports, it will be difficult to sustain growth in the UK.”

Kern calls for increased support from the government for small businesses, in the provision of trade finance, promotion and insurance.

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