NEW research estimates nearly 6.5 million jobs in the UK are supported by exports, more than 13,000 of which are based in Furness.

Commissioned by the Department for International Trade and carried out by the Fraser of Allander Institute at the University of Strathclyde, it lifts the lid on the value of exporting-led jobs to the UK economy and helps inform the discussion around the untapped exporting potential of businesses across the country.

This ground-breaking research estimates that median wages in jobs directly and indirectly supported by exports were around seven per cent higher than the national median and that more jobs (3.7 million) are supported by exports to the rest of the world than to the EU (2.8 million). The Office for National Statistics also estimates that goods exporting businesses are 21 per cent more productive than those who do not.

It provides a clear rationale for pursuing an exports-led recovery from Covid and using trade liberalisation to boost strategic industries – such as services, tech and renewables – that are key to building back better from the pandemic.

Simon Fell, MP for Barrow and Furness, said: “This report demonstrates how enterprising Furness businesses are. The Government is securing lucrative trade deals across the globe, which will only serve to boost jobs and wages for households across Barrow and Furness.”

The FAI research estimates the number of jobs supported by exports at a regional level. DIT is exploring how we could develop data that can provide similar insights at an even more local level.

The research is accompanied by a new Board of Trade report – Global Britain, Local Jobs – that prescribes a series of policy fixes to unlock the UK’s full exporting potential and propel a trade-led, jobs-led recovery from Covid-19. This includes:

• Boosting the UK’s role as a global hub for services and digital trade.

• Pursuing new trade deals with large and fast-growing economies beyond Europe, particularly in the Indo-Pacific.

• Greater support to help businesses internationalise, and adopt new export targets.

The Board – which is led by International Trade Secretary Liz Truss – argues the UK’s departure from the EU is an opportunity to deepen trade liberalisation and boost the role trade plays in the economy. It argues the UK should follow the likes of Australia, Singapore and New Zealand, who have all used trade liberalisation to spur growth and capture global market share.

The report advocates deeper trade ties with faster growing nations outside Europe, with 65 per cent of the world’s middle classes set to be in the Asia-Pacific by 2030 and nearly 90 per cent of world growth expected to be outside the EU in the next five years.