Business secretary Sajid Javid will today reveal new figures showing that 1.2 million small and medium-sized businesses across the country rely on trade with the EU and reiterated the government’s belief that businesses in general benefit from EU membership, with SMEs in particular enjoying a fruitful relationship with the continent.
The figures show that 23% of UK SMEs either export to Europe or supply firms that export to Europe. To put that in a regional context, for example 23% of SMEs in the North East region represents 31,126 businesses.
Javid is giving a speech on the benefits of EU membership in Leeds, and will say that, “This shows yet again that Britain’s small businesses are stronger, safer and better off in Europe.”
Too much of a gamble
“If we leave the EU, small firms are on the front line and that’s a gamble with people’s livelihoods I’m not willing to take.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. Let’s not break that backbone with a leap into the dark.”
The report focuses on the numbers of SMEs involved in EU exporting, either directly or through a broader supply chain. And it clearly shows the numbers are considerable.
“Supply chains play an important role in a modern interconnected economy. For every £3 of value added generated domestically (in the UK) for exporting, £2 is generated directly by the exporting industry and £1 is generated by their UK based suppliers.