Were Bridget Phillipson and Rachel Reeves deliberately massaging the figures of the United Kingdom Government’s support for exporters or are they just plain stupid?


The i carried an article on Tuesday 3rd August, entitled “Unfair funding advantage for small export firms sees South East receiving double North East (says the Labour Party)”

“Government failure to address inequalities in funding to support small export businesses has left some regions receiving more than double elsewhere, Labour has said.”

Firms in London and the South East, for example, have access to millions more in business support and advice than the North East equivalent.”

These are the latest Office for National Statistics figures for the number of Small and Medium Enterprises in England, broken down by region:

ONS Region

Number of SMEs  

East Midlands






North East


North West


South East


South West


West Midlands


Yorkshire and The Humber




The North East, 71,110 SMEs, is getting less support than, boo, hiss, London and the South East, combined, 945,855 SMEs.

Now let us look at the figures in a different way:

Contracted Support
in £m  

Monetary Value of Support in £
Divided by Number of SMEs in a Region

East Midlands









North East



North West



South East



South West



West Midlands



Yorkshire and The Humber




The North East is hard done by, in comparison with London and the South East?

Remember, Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Bridget Phillipson and Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rachel Reeves want the voters to trust them with the UK’s finances.

“A letter to Boris Johnson sent a fortnight ago by James Ramsbotham called on the prime minister to save the north-east from the “damage being done to our economy” by Brexit and urged him to give it his “most urgent and personal attention”. Two weeks later, it remains unanswered.

Ramsbotham is the chief executive of the North East England Chamber of Commerce and speaks for thousands of businesses caught by the red tape and extra costs of complying with EU rules. In a recent survey, 38% of members said sales to Europe had fallen since January.”

Business chief calls on PM to save north-east from Brexit damage

There is, as ever, no mention of Brexit in this article, presumably based on a Labour Party press release.

One wonders how much of the money that the UK Government provides to advise businesses on exporting is increasingly going on helping them to navigate the United Kingdom’s third country relationship with the European Union.

Money being spent not on assisting UK companies to increase their export sales, but in desperate efforts to try and hold on to the sales figures they were achieving before 31st December 2020.

Efforts involving moving UK based jobs, contracts and operations into the Single Market.

Some companies are even setting up new subsidiaries within the EU and others are actually contemplating moving their whole business there.

Intriguingly, Reeves, flying in the face of reality, has pledged a future Labour Government to fund support for businesses seeking to set up factories in the UK in order to reshore or near-shore production “so that their supply chains are less complicated and shorter”.

Asking how much public money is going on suggesting UK based businesses buy, make and sell less in the UK would be a rational line of questioning to pursue, if the Labour Party were serious about exposing the fundamental flaws in Boris Johnson’s Hard Brexit deal.

However, Labour freely endorsed that agreement with the EU and plans to make it work.

How it will do so remains a mystery.

” “We want small firms grow and thrive all over the country and to be able to export the brilliant goods and services they sell across the world – crucial for our economic recovery,” Ms Phillipson said.

“But in recent years, the government have left British SMEs and exporters behind.”

“If the government wants to help all regions a higher level of prosperity, why is it reinforcing the existing gap through these disparities?”

“Labour has a plan to buy, make and sell more in Britain, to level the playing field for British businesses, and grow the skills and jobs we need here for our industries to thrive.” “

There are lies, damned lies and then there is the twaddle Labour keeps coming up with to justify an ever more risible policy.

Labour made a rod for its own back when it uncritically endorsed Johnson’s Hard Brexit.

There is more than a touch of back to the late 1960s with Reeves pledging the UK’s public sector to buy more in Britain.

I wonder if Reeves has considered the implications for the UK’s Balance of Trade of a policy that might well damage our non EU trade and further damage our EU trade than Johnson has managed, but would not significantly reduce our imports.

I am sure Reeves with her wide experience of trade, commerce and industry knows that UK plc imports goods and services to help produce goods and services for domestic consumption as well as for invisible and visible export.

I am sure Reeves learnt all about that at cocktail parties in Washington, not Tyne and Wear, but DC where she worked at the British Embassy as an economist; in meetings at the Bank of England and whilst working at the Head Office of the Halifax in Leeds.

Reeves is 42, she became a Member of Parliament in 2010.

You do the math as to how much she has lived and worked outside of the Westminster bubble since she read for her MA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics at New College, Oxford, followed by graduating with an MSc in Economics from the London School of Economics.

Bridget Phillipson has not even got a background in business or economic theory.

Even so, you would have hoped that they would understand that economic policies fashioned, as much as anything else, to appeal to the prejudices of pensioners in focus groups, regardless of their position on Brexit, are no way to plan to manage a country’s finances.

And what electoral mileage did Labour anticipate in accruing from fiddling some figures on the regional support the UK Government provides to exporters?


4 thoughts on “Were Bridget Phillipson and Rachel Reeves deliberately massaging the figures of the United Kingdom Government’s support for exporters or are they just plain stupid?

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