Business Secretary to overhaul UKTI as British exports plummet

Sajid Javid
Sajid Javid
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THE GOVERNMENT’s trade body is to be overhauled in an effort to boost Britain’s flagging exports.

Business Secretary Sajid Javid said he is taking a “fresh look” at UK Trade & Investment amid claims of poor morale and unstable leadership, the Financial Times reported.

UKTI chief executive Dominic Jermey served just 16 months in the role before leaving for a new post in the Foreign Office last month and has been replaced by Catherine Raines, director general for UKTI in China, a spokesman confirmed.

The upheaval came as latest figures showed the biggest fall in exports in nearly a decade.

Exports of goods dropped by more than 9 per cent in July, the sharpest drop since 2006, the Office for National Statistics said last month.

The UK is set to miss the Government’s target of hitting £1 trillion worth of exports by 2020 by 14 years, according to the British Chambers of Commerce’s annual international trade survey published in August.

Mr Javid said: “The general goal is how do you make it more efficient? How can you make it more targeted?

“Why is it that in some countries their SME sector, if you take Italy, France, German, export a lot more than the British SME sector? That’s a particular challenge for us. I can’t tell you what UKTI is going to look like at the end, but it will be more focused and more efficient.”

UKTI has more than 1,100 staff across the UK, including 55 in Yorkshire. A contractor, Enterprise Growth Solutions, provides the regional service in a five-year contract worth £14.3m.

The cost of UKTI was £354.6m in 2014-15, according to its annual accounts.