Chancellor preparing to boost post-Brexit exports with £5bn Budget fund


The Chancellor is preparing to boost post-Brexit exports for UK businesses by making £5 billion of loans available in his forthcoming Budget.

Rishi Sunak is set to hand over £5 billion to UK Export Finance (Ukef), the Government’s export credit agency that provides loans to overseas buyers of British goods and services.

The Treasury said the money would help UK exporters to increase their global sales as Britain prepares for life outside the European Union, with the Chancellor helping to top up the purchasing power of those abroad by providing a competitive loan rate through Ukef.

The agency’s role is to ensure exports do not fail due to a lack of available finance or insurance for those looking to buy up Britain’s export offers.

It will be the largest increase ever handed to the Ukef, taking its lending power up from £3 billion to £8 billion.

Due to give his first Budget on Wednesday, Mr Sunak said: “This decade will provide even more opportunities for British businesses to export and trade with new partners across the world.

“The Government will support business to seize these opportunities and thrive on the world stage.

“This package – which is the highest level of export lending the Government has ever made available – will provide support to industries and regions across the country.”

From the £5 billion pot being made available, £2 billion will be offered for exports that encourage green growth while £1 billion will be set aside for defence industry purchases, Number 11 confirmed.

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As part of the extra funding, foreign investors hoping to start a business in the UK are also expected to have their visa applications supported by the Department for International Trade.

Mr Sunak will also look closer to home as well during his Budget, announcing £50 million worth of investment to improve accessibility to train stations.

The additional funding is designed to make it easier for disabled and elderly passengers to use the rail network.

A total of 12 stations will benefit from upgrades due to the new cash, with the money used to pay for lifts and ramps to create an obstacle-free route from station entrances to the platforms.

Only around one in five stations on the railway network are currently fully accessible.

The stations set to benefit from the Access for All funding are:

– Apsley in Hertfordshire
– Beeston in Nottinghamshire
– Eaglescliffe in County Durham
– East Grinstead in West Sussex
– Eridge in East Sussex
– Flitwick in Bedfordshire
– Ockendon in Essex
– Newtown in Powys, Mid Wales
– Walkden in Greater Manchester
– Motspur Park, South Croydon and Tooting in London.

Mr Sunak added: “These upgrades will ensure the elderly, disabled, parents with young children and others with mobility problems can get around.

“I want facilities like this to be the norm and never the exception.”

Another £30 million will be included in the Budget to upgrade toilets in existing buildings to include “changing places” facilities, which are suitable for those with severe disabilities.

There will also be a change to building regulations guidance so that “changing places” toilets are compulsory for new public buildings by the end of this year, according to the Treasury.