Published on September 23, 2015

As a bit of a writer I’m fascinated by the way language evolves and love to get new words and TLAs (whilst also trying to avoid phrases that become over-worked: if I hear another star tell me how ‘privileged’ they are I will have to fight the urge to bop him on the nose). Did you know that BoP now stands for Bottom of Pyramid, the poorest in our world? But it is also shorthand for Balance of Payments which has been an issue for the UK longer than there has been a BoP class.

I addressed this issue a couple of years ago and suggested that we provide assistance to SMEs for their export activities. It seems that once again my idea has been taken up albeit on this occasion by a Swiss economics minister whom I have not been privileged (oops) to meet .

Here is an extract from Swissinfo, courtesy of my Google alert:

‘ In June, Schneider-Ammann instructed the Commission for Technology and Innovation (CTI) to waive the requirement for a cash contribution for R&D funding applications for heavily export-oriented SMEs with effect from this August. “Now we plan to stock up the CTI’s grant funds,” he told the Schweiz am Sonntag newspaper.

My suggestion was (and still is) that we create an export credit scheme for SMEs modelled on our R&D tax credit scheme as a way of boosting exports. But they say, or more specifically David Gauke (whom I have, er, met) says that ‘they won’t let us’ because it may fall foul of the EU’s rules regarding state aid. Well it might and then again it might not. After all if we can have R&D tax credits there’s a prima facie case for allowing export tax credits. I’m sure there will be a set of rules restricting it but ‘twere ever thus.

I have no desire to move to Switzerland, largely because when I twisted my knee on their ski slopes the driver of the snowmobile tried to prevent my wife accompanying me down, since she wasn’t injured. But I think that as we start to debate our future in the EU and we look at other countries nearby that aren’t in it, we need clear answers to proposals such as this since they will enable us to make an informed choice: does the EU help or hinder this country. Leaders please don’t dance around these issues. After all ever since the celebration of the 1997 election victory you’re not known as being great boppers.