FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Responding to today’s narrowing trade deficit data, the Forum of Private Business has renewed its call for the government to provide more focussed support for small businesses who have the potential to export for the first time and to those who are already exporting but with a bit more help could do more.

Released by the ONS, today’s data shows that between the three months to November 2016 and the three months to November 2017 the UK’s trade deficit narrowed by £4.3bn.

Ian Cass, Managing Director of the Forum, said: “We welcome today’s news of the narrowing trade deficit, but feel that the full potential of the nation’s small businesses is yet to be realised. This is reflected in the government's 'one size fits all' approach to business, which does not take into account the very different needs, concerns and support required from small business in order for many of them to achieve their true export potential.

“Despite yesterday’s reshuffle it’s still our view that the government does not truly understand the needs of the small and micro business community and we call on the Secretary of State for Business, Greg Clark, and others to back our Get Britain Trading campaign.”

Notes to editors:

The ‘Get Britain Trading’ campaign has six key elements:
1. Helping to improve the performance and productivity of members
2. Re-launching the ‘Hall of Shame’ to highlight bad behaviour of UK businesses, which damage the trust and reputation of UK PLC.
3. Ethical and compliant behaviour from businesses, for which the Forum has developed an Ethical Workbook and a Compliance Handbook, both of which are being circulated to members in the coming months.
4. Creation of a Business Partner Scheme, with members registering to host Ministers, local MPs, Civil Servants and Educational Establishments to come and work within their businesses for a few hours, and gain a deeper understanding of the issues that they face on a day to day basis.
5. Provision of clear and direct feedback from members to Government with a view to ensuring all initiatives from Government are kept simple and workable.
6. Lobbying for a smooth Brexit transition and for a favourable post-Brexit business environment, across the Forum’s already issued Post Brexit Plan.

Full details of today’s UK trade data can be viewed here: https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/nationalaccounts/balanceofpayments/bulletins/uktrade/november2017

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