Chancellor George Osborne will miss his target of doubling UK exports to £1 trillion by 2020, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has said.
The BCC said exports would have to grow by 10% a year to meet the target set in 2012, yet warned double digit export performance growth is out of reach.
Exports increased by 0.5% in 2012, and by 2.1% in 2013 to £505.6 billion.
The BCC cut its forecasts for export growth this year from 1.9% to 0.8% but expects growth to increase to 4.1% in 2015 and 4.6% in 2016.
John Longworth, director general of the BCC, said:
“As it stands at the moment we will not hit that target. We’ve got a government that is not putting its money where its mouth is and we need to do something radically different in support for exports.”
Mr Longworth said businesses are not getting enough support to justify the risk of entering different markets and selling their goods and services overseas.
“We’re not in a war, it’s not Lord Kitchener saying your country needs you. It’s completely unreasonable that you should ask a business to put their livelihood and employees at risk out of the goodness of their hearts. It’s unreasonable for the government to say fix your bayonet and get over the top.”
The Treasury have said that exports have risen by 25% since the government came to power and it is the government’s ambition to double exports by 2020.
Government support is also available to companies wanting to export, with UK Trade and Investment helping more than 40,000 SMEs last year, Trade Minister Lord Livingston said.
Longworth said that this shift to greater exports was desirable. However, in order to achieve these goals, government state backing on the scale seen in countries such as Germany would be required.
A stronger pound, which makes exports more expensive for other countries, has left business with “an even bigger hill to climb”.
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