“These dismal figures may have been distorted by recent bad weather, but trends over the past three months show a disappointing pattern, with the volume of imports growing more strongly than exports.
“It is clear that the much-needed rebalancing of the UK economy towards export-led growth is not happening. Given the favourable global background for British exporters, with a competitive sterling exchange rate, our international trading performance is still weak.
“To strengthen Britain’s global trade, the government must do more to support our exporters, as many other countries are doing, and adopt measures to ensure adequate trade finance is available. It is critical to remember that business exports will be at the centre of any meaningful UK recovery over the coming year and beyond.”