UK business given £12.3bn export support from government

(City AM, London, 23 June 2021) In its annual results published today UK Export Finance (UKEF) announced that it provided £12.3bn (US$17bn) of support to UK exporters in the last financial year, amid coronavirus disruption and ongoing Brexit trade negotiations, almost 3X the amount given in 2019-20. UKEF estimates that its financial support to UK exporters during the pandemic has safeguarded up to 107,000 jobs, and helped key industries in the UK to survive. £7.3bn (59%) was dedicated to exporters including Ford, Nissan, Subsea 7, Rolls Royce, easyJet, and British Airways, whose businesses were severely disrupted by the pandemic, the agency said. A large chunk of this support went to major exporters British Airways and easyJet, who received £2.5bn (20%) to help safeguard jobs at Luton and Heathrow airports. Small businesses in London benefitted from £215m (1.7%) as part of the agency’s Temporary Covid Risk Framework. 79% of the 549 companies UKEF supported were SMEs, [although the % of total funds for SMEs is not known]. The announcement comes a year after campaigners launched a probe into UKEF that found it was supporting sectors prone to corruption as part of its post-Brexit export drive. Campaign group Spotlight on Corruption expressed particular concern at the time that UKEF was increasingly supporting newly established UK-registered subsidiaries of foreign construction firms that have been embroiled in corruption allegations.