Last reviewed 16 April 2021

According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), UK gross domestic product (GDP) and total exports dropped by 7.8% and 10.3% respectively in February 2021 compared to the same month last year.

Reacting to this news, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has called on the Government to fulfil its “build back better” agenda and, among other changes, to cut the non-wage costs of employment to spur hiring and to end the “debilitating late payment crisis”.

FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry said: “UK exports have tumbled since the end of the transition period. Whilst the SME Brexit Support Fund offers some much-needed help to small importers and exporters trying to get their heads around new rules, it’s important that it is now promoted effectively so as many eligible firms as possible benefit from its installation.”

A fifth of small exporters have halted sales to the EU temporarily, he went on, and some have already given up on selling into the bloc on a permanent basis.

Mr Cherry urged the Government to uprate the value of sale threshold at which taxes and tariffs kick in for imports and exports to £1000, describing this as the most constructive starting point.

“We also need to see policymakers pulling out all the stops to strike ambitious new trade deals, which include small business chapters, with high-growth economies where there’s appetite for UK goods, not least the US,” Mr Cherry concluded.