News in brief: Budget, mid-market, EU, Brexit

News in brief
News in brief

Calls for Chancellor to boost mid-market exports

Ahead of this week’s Budget, BLME, a leading bank to UK mid-market companies, is calling on the Chancellor to appoint a dedicated mid-market Minister to recognise the substantial economic contribution of this often unsung section of the business community. According to BLME, top of the to-do list for any new Minister should be supporting the mid-market on how it can boost the amount it exports.

BLME’s most recent mid-market research found that four in ten mid-market firms (39%) in the UK want to export more, but are hampered by the amount of red tape (24% cited this as a barrier) and the cost of exporting (21%). This comes as the Chancellor has set the UK the target of hitting £1trillion in exports by 2020.

BLME head of corporate banking Jervis Rhodes said: “Support on exports is just one area where a dedicated mid-market Minister could fight for help that is tailored to these firms’ specific needs, which are quite different to the biggest firms above them and the smallest below.

“The Chancellor rightly recognises that healthy export numbers are key to our long term economic prosperity. But simply providing one-size-fits-all advice on this to the mid-market won’t be enough. It certainly won’t help the chances of realising the Chancellor’s ambitious export target.

“This isn’t about the mid-market getting special treatment. It’s about these firms getting the recognition they deserve. A mid-market Minister would champion this unsung sector of our business community and ensure it has its own voice in policy debates.”

Majority of CBI members want to remain in EU

A clear majority of CBI member companies – which together employ nearly 7 million people, about one third of private sector employees – believe that it would be in the best interests of their business and the wider UK economy to remain inside the EU.

An independent survey carried out by polling company ComRes, which had 773 responses among small, medium and large firms across the whole of the UK, revealed 80% of CBI members, when weighted to reflect its membership – including 71% of small and mid-sized business members – believe that the UK remaining a member of the EU would be best for their business. Overall, 5% say it is in their firms’ best interests for the UK to leave the EU, with 15% unsure.

CBI director-general Carolyn Fairbairn said: “Walking away makes little economic sense and risks throwing away the many benefits we gain from being part of the EU.

“Our members tell us that having guaranteed access to a tariff-free market of 500 million people, and to more than 30 global trade deals covering 50 countries, are significant advantages that outweigh the frustrations.

“A minority of members want to leave the EU. We will continue to respect and reflect their views and campaign for EU reform to get a better deal for all businesses.

“However, most CBI members are unconvinced that alternatives to full membership would offer the same opportunities. We have yet to see those who seek to leave the EU present a compelling vision of what this would mean for jobs and growth.”