Wednesday, July 28, 2021
- Advertisement -
Home Government Rail industry urges export support for SMEs to continue

Rail industry urges export support for SMEs to continue

The Railway Industry Association (RIA), the voice of the UK rail supply community, has called for the Department for International Trade (DIT) to continue supporting small businesses in exporting abroad following the cancellation of the Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP), which is essential to help the industry achieve it’s Rail Sector Deal target of doubling exports to £1.6 billon by 2025.

The Tradeshow Access Programme provides a number of small grants to SMEs which go directly to the cost of exhibiting at overseas trade fairs. In rail, around 194 grants have been given to businesses since 2016, with each grant valued between £1,500 and £2,500. These grants allow SMEs to exhibit at overseas tradeshows and have been used at major events like InnoTrans in Germany, AusRail in Australia and Trako in Poland.

According to Export Partners UK – a group of some 50 trade bodies who work to support exports – for every £1 invested by HM Treasury, at least £40 comes back from TAP to UK plc. A cost-benefit analysis of TAP by London Economics estimated that the total benefit of the programme in 2007/2008 amounted to £57.1 million. Given the programme costs of £11.2 million, the estimated benefit-cost ratio is 5:1.


Neil Walker, Exports Director at the Railway Industry Association (RIA), said: “With the Government looking to drive exports in the coming years, now is not the time to be withdrawing support for small businesses to exhibit at overseas trade fairs. The Tradeshow Access Programme, which provides small grants to SMEs exhibiting abroad, has been a major help in introducing businesses to exporting and has shown its value by providing a good return on investment. Stopping the scheme now will only make it harder to achieve the Government’s vision of a ‘Global Britain’.

“For UK rail, the scheme has been vital. One rail supplier reported a 1,200% growth in their business following an exhibition they visited after receiving a TAP grant in March 2020. Another said they had seen £50 million in revenue generated in the Middle East, with the TAP grants contributing directly. Several companies have told RIA they would not have attended certain exhibitions without the support TAP provided.

“So we urge the Government to continue supporting SMEs across the UK, both in rail and in other industries, in reinstating the TAP scheme or introducing an equivalent programme to support exporters. We hope Government will take this opportunity to help us ‘build back better’ and make the most of the Free Trade Agreements they are negotiating with countries across the world.”

Photo credit: Shutterstock

image_pdfDownload article
- Advertisement -

Most Popular

Charlotte Robinson wins Infrastructure Award at Amazon Everywoman in Transport & Logistics Awards

Charlotte Robinson, a Rail Planner at Dyer & Butler, a part of M Group Services, has been named winner of the Infrastructure ‘Above and...

Brilliant boost for Barmouth economy in next stage of viaduct restoration

Alun Griffiths secure contract for the final stage of the Barmouth Viaduct upgrade project. Alun Griffiths Contractors Ltd has been awarded the contract for the...

East West Railway Company launches engagement exercise for innovative ‘Enterprise Partner’ model – an industry first for UK rail

The East West Railway Company (EWR Co) is launching a market engagement exercise on an innovative new ‘Enterprise Partner’ model to support the company...

Green light for £150m Global Centre for Rail Excellence

A planning application for the construction of a world class rail testing facility at the head of the Dulais and Tawe Valleys has been...