SOUTH Basildon and East Thurrock MP Stephen Metcalfe rose on the floor of the House of Commons to ask the Foreign Secretary, William Hague a question with regards to business opportunities in the diplomatic network.
Mr Metcalfe said: “I am delighted to hear that our growing diplomatic network is committed to playing such an important part in promoting UK business. Can my right hon. Friend advise me on how small and medium-sized enterprises, especially those in my constituency, can make the best of that commitment?
Mr Hague replied: “The new strategy of UKTI, which Lord Green has taken the leading role in putting together, places the greatest emphasis on small and medium-sized enterprises. Only one in five of the SMEs in this country are exporters on any significant scale. If we could raise that to one in four, which is the European average, the extra exports from Britain would more than cancel out the trade deficits that we have experienced in recent years. This is a central goal, and UKTI’s work in the United Kingdom will reach out to those businesses in particular over the coming months and years. I will write to my hon. Friend with the details of what we announced last night”.