Red bus sale to Mexico just the ticket for trade boost - PM

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A deal to export Britain's famous red double-decker buses to Mexico demonstrates the UK is a world-leading trading nation, Theresa May has said.

A £1.7 billion package of taxpayer-funded support has helped 137 firms expand and win overseas contracts over the past year as the Government builds a "truly global Britain", according to the Prime Minister.

The figures were announced as Mrs May headed to Guildford to visit bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis, which has secured a £44 million finance deal to sell double-deckers that will reduce congestion and pollution on the Paseo de la Reforma, Mexico City's answer to The Mall.

Around 2,000 jobs across the UK, including 320 at its Surrey site and 1,000 in Falkirk, Scotland, will be secured by the deal.

The £1.7 billion awarded by UK Export Finance (UKEF) since it became part of the Department for International Trade has helped businesses make the most of opportunities outside of the European Union, according to the Government.

Mrs May said: "We are building a truly global Britain by helping UK companies win multi-million pound contracts to export their products across the globe, and supporting high-value jobs here in this country.

"Since last summer, the Government has provided over £1.7 billion of backing for contracts for goods and services and will continue to maximise investment in the UK and seek exciting new opportunities ahead.

"From exporting iconic red double-decker buses to Mexico, cutting-edge MRI systems to Australia or rail equipment to Bangkok, each one is an example of a great British success story and shows the UK is leading the way as a great, global trading nation."

Colin Robertson, chief executive of Alexander Dennis, said: "It is hugely exciting to know that ADL's signature red double-decker buses will soon be transporting Mexico City's residents in style and comfort.

"As a global double-decker leader with fleets of our vehicles across the world, we see the positive impact these vehicles can have in improving the transport infrastructure, congestion and air quality in the world's busiest cities.

"Our ability to offer finance from UK Export Finance in Mexican Pesos was a significant benefit to our buyer, helping us win this major contract."

Bike firm Norton Motorcycle, which sells to Australia, North America, Japan and Europe, was backed with working capital support to finance its exports under the scheme while Guildford-based firm, MR Solutions, secured a £1.2 million contract to sell MRI scanners to Sydney University after UKEF provided guarantees for the deal.

Finance support was given to Hampshire engineering company Design and Projects to export rail equipment to Bangkok and nearly £1 million in backing went to a London furniture company Distinction to secure finance for work at the Palm Jumeirah hotel in Dubai.