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Bright Blue, the independent think tank for liberal conservatism, finds that UK exporters are most likely to say securing a trade deal with the EU is the most important thing the Government can currently do to help them. 

As the UK prepares to leave the transition period with the EU and negotiations to secure a free trade agreement in time intensify, polling of a reflective sample of 750 UK exporters by Bright Blue and Opinium shows that a plurality (41%) of exporting UK companies believe that securing a deal with the EU is the most important thing the Government can do to help their businesses. Securing a deal is ranked above: securing trade deals outside of the EU (31%); assisting with COVID-19 impacts (30%); lowering taxes and rates (29%); and reducing regulation (28%).

This polling is from a project Bright Blue is conducting examining attitudes of exporters to government and UKEF support, including on policies to support the transition to net-zero and ‘levelling-up’ the UK, which will be released soon.

Andrew Leming, researcher at Bright Blue, commented:

“With negotiations over the future of UK-EU trade relations headed into the final hours, the Government should pay close attention to the views expressed by the UK’s export sector. After an unprecedented year of trade disruption and uncertainty created by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Government must now seek the compromises necessary to secure a deal with the EU that protects employment and preserves the influence of UK exporters internationally.”

James Crouch, Senior Research Manager at Opinium, commented:

“Even after the huge levels of disruption caused by Covid, UK exporters are still looking for additional Brexit support from the government above all else. Knowing what our future trading relationship with our nearest neighbours and the rest of the world clearly is the top priority for those selling goods and services abroad, and it will add pressure to the government to secure a deal as soon as possible.”

The figures are from Opinium. Total sample was a broadly reflective sample of 750 senior decision makers at UK Exporters. Polling was conducted between 12th and 17th November 2020.

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