A number of initiatives aimed to help SMEs increase their export funding have been reduced or axed altogether, despite a government pledge to reach £1tb in exports by 2020.

The new Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill – submitted to Parliament today – outlined a range of measure to “remove barriers to growth for small firms”.

In it, the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills pledge to cut red tape, increase SME access to finance, and increase transparency.

The Bill also promises to “assist small business expansion overseas by increasing the support available from UK Export Finance and widening its powers, making it easier for all businesses, regardless of size, to expand in the international marketplace”.

However, a number of schemes that have previously helped SMEs gain investment through match-funding have been axed, such as the Passport to Export scheme, which used to offer up to £3,000.

Match-funding is a Government promise to match a small firm’s investment with a cash amount of equal size.

A spokesperson for the department of UK Trade & Investment confirmed to The Telegraph that match-funding is being pulled:

“We constantly review our services to clients to ensure we deploy our resources to best effect and, due to increased demand, have temporarily suspended export vouchers, but otherwise all UKTI export programmes remain open to UK businesses.”

Image by Rona Proudfoot