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:

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About Forum of Private Business

The Forum of Private Business is a not-for-profit comprehensive business support organisation founded in 1977. Our membership is spread throughout the UK and primarily made up of companies that employ between 1-50 employees, helping them to manage employees, saving time, giving advice, support and protection where a business needs it.

We are a recognised leading authority on business issues and represent the interests of business owners on many consultative bodies. We have built a solid reputation, being influential in many areas of policy-making, in changing laws that affect small businesses, and we continue to campaign for the fair treatment of businesses within the UK.

Everything we do is about making sure our members’ businesses operate profitably. This means that every penny we make goes back in to supporting our members, providing the support and resources that will enable businesses to flourish and grow.