South West food exports contribute £700m to UK economy

Posted on 13 Jul 2018 by Jonny Williamson

Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Liz Truss visited Cornwall to herald the thriving food industry in the region and encourage more businesses to export Cornish foods abroad.

Liz Truss visited Cornwall to herald the thriving food industry in the region – image courtesy of Depositphotos.

Liz Truss used a visit to several food manufacturers in Cornwall this week (12 and 13 July) to unveil new figures that showed food and agricultural exports in the first quarter of 2018 were up for the fourth year in a row.

From January to March 2018, £175m worth of food and agricultural goods were exported from the region around the globe, up £10m on last year.

In 2017, nearly £700m worth of Cornish food and agricultural goods were exported around the world, and the Chief Secretary hopes that this figure will be bettered this year:

  • Food manufacturers in this region have made a flying start to 2018 and it’s hugely encouraging to learn, once again, that food exports are up for the first quarter of this year.
  • Exporting boosts the earnings of a business, and the wages of local workers, it also enhances the reputation of Britain and Cornwall around the world.
  • I want to see more people abroad enjoying a taste of Cornwall, like the magnificent clotted cream I’ve seen made during my visit.
  • It is so important that local traders in this part of the world can increase their trade and create jobs and I’m here to learn how we can help them do this.

While visiting Cornwall, the Chief Secretary was hosted by groups of businesses and visited several food manufacturing factories.

Kim Conchie, Chief Executive Office of Cornwall Chamber of Commerce told The Manufacturer: “Food & Drink is an iconic sector for Cornwall where provenance and quality shine through.  We are delighted that this industry is getting the national and, indeed, international recognition it deserves.”

The government is delivering for the South West, and the region now has the second-lowest unemployment rate of all UK regions. And this year alone employment has increased by 37,000, with a record high 2.8 million people now in work.

Since 2010 the government has worked hard to make sure businesses in all regions of the UK can start-up and scale-up. By cutting corporation tax we have helped encourage this, with 1.2 million more businesses starting up since 2010.

Food and beverage is UK’s fastest growing export sector

New research reveals the food and beverage industry is the UK’s fastest growing export sector.  Exports are expected to grow at 6.3% a year to 2021, ahead of the aerospace, precious metals, automotive and pharmaceuticals sectors respectively.

Food and beverage exports were worth £20.57bn in 2017 and the projected growth could generate an extra £1.29bn a year for the industry’s exports.

Exports of the five fastest growing sectors were worth £129bn last year. The projected growth means that these sectors could generate an extra £3.4bn a year for UK exports to 2021.