UK Export Finance (UKEF), the export credit agency of the British government, has secured a 20% budget hike as part of new spending plans designed to boost support for UK exporters.

As outlined in the government’s 2021 Autumn Budget and Spending Review, the budget increase signals the continued expansion of UKEF’s role in UK government finance, after providing record levels of support to British exporters in 2020-21.

In a press statement, UKEF said the increase will be funded by the premium income that the agency generates for the UK taxpayer, and will be used to increase the number of products and services it can offer to customers as part of its multi-year exports programme.

The extra cash will also enable UKEF to implement its net-zero commitments and increase support for green projects, as outlined in the UKEF Climate Change Strategy: 2021-2024.

Finally, UKEF will expand its network of international export finance executives across priority overseas markets, and will strengthen risk management, underwriting, and cybersecurity capacity as the scale and complexity of its portfolio increases.

Louis Taylor, CEO of UKEF, said: “UKEF has been central to the government’s response to the pandemic and this increase will allow us to continue to support UK exporters as they bounce back from the pandemic and take advantage of new trading opportunities for British businesses.”

UKEF’s role expanded during the pandemic to ensure liquidity continued to reach major exporters impacted by lockdowns and trading restrictions. 

In 2020-21, UKEF provided its highest level of support for British businesses in 30 years. 

Over £12 billion was delivered to 549 businesses, which is estimated to have supported up to 107,000 UK jobs during the pandemic.

Going forward, UKEF said the increased budget will ensure that the agency can play a role in supporting the UK’s post-pandemic economic recovery, and help businesses realise the opportunities created by post-Brexit free trade agreements. 

UKEF is a UK government department that works alongside the Department for International Trade (DIT).

Founded in 1919, UKEF aims to ensure that no viable UK export should fail due to lack of finance from the private market. 

As such, UKEF provides finance and insurance to help exporters win, fulfil, and get paid for export contracts.