Yorkshire could secure 100,000 new jobs from SMEs trading internationally, Santander suggests

Yorkshire could benefit from an additional 100,000 jobs and a £2.5bn economic boost if the region’s small and medium-sized businesses are supported in realising their international trade aspirations, a new report from Santander has suggested.

The report estimates the £2.5bn increase for Yorkshire and Humber would be part of a national £15bn economic boost, with 105,000 jobs created in this region. It said nationally 1.9m new jobs are possible.

Those looking to expand operations or trade internationally say the biggest barriers are logistics, cost, and lack of knowledge of local laws and regulations.

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One of the businesses who has benefitted from trading internationally is Paralloy & Firth Vickers, global leaders in the production of high quality centri-spun, static cast steel and nickel based products, who have a site based in Sheffield and now export 95 per cent of their product line internationally.

Sheffield is one of the cities that could benefit from more international trading by regional businesses. Picture: Marisa CashillSheffield is one of the cities that could benefit from more international trading by regional businesses. Picture: Marisa Cashill
Sheffield is one of the cities that could benefit from more international trading by regional businesses. Picture: Marisa Cashill

Michael Dolan, CFO of Paralloy & Firth Vickers, said: “We now employ 450 people in the UK. If we weren’t exporting internationally, those jobs would not be there. All the work that we win creates jobs.”

He added that buyers look to Britain for quality products.

“It is a real risk for our buyers to source their materials from an unproven, low-cost economy. If the materials used or the properties of the product are not the best they can be, it could backfire and cost more in the long-term.

“Our product’s number one selling point is the quality – for our customers, it’s all about the highest technical product that you can buy in the industry, and we are among the top three producers in the world.

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"Our products have to be of the utmost integrity. Some of them go into aeroplane engines or power plants, so clearly the level of stringent inspection, and external reviews and audits that we have is huge.”

The research suggests Sheffield could benefit from a £29m economic boost and a 17,000 new jobs.

The UK has struck three free trade agreements since leaving the European Union with Japan, Australia and New Zealand and in March this year, agreement was reached for the UK to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership alongside its 11 existing members.

Negotiations are continuing with India over a potential further deal, while the UK has announced plans to launch trade talks with Switzerland.

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Santander is calling on the Government to reduce bureaucracy to remove trading barriers and also wants more support for businesses with skills training.

John Carroll, Head of International and Transactional Banking, Santander: “The UK is a strong incubator for SMEs, but as our data shows, international expansion is key to unlocking future growth potential for the UK economy.

“We must help to remove the barriers to expansion and support UK companies to take advantage of the benefits of reaching markets outside of the UK.

"We’ve already assisted over 1,000 UK companies with their global expansion via our network of international specialists, connecting them to distributors, local markets, logistics companies, and many more providers which are now available to even more businesses on our Santander Navigator platform.

"The opportunity is there but if we are to maintain our status as a leading global economy, there is more to be done to foster international growth.”