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Poor transport 'hitting exports'
Poor transport connections are holding UK companies back from exporting, a survey has claimed.
The number of companies exporting goods and services from the UK has risen from 22% last year to 32% this year, the poll by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) found.
But of 8,000 businesses surveyed, 20% saw poor transport connections as a barrier to export, with this figure rising to 32% among Northern Ireland companies and to 34% among Scottish firms.
In addition, 41% of all companies said the cost of trade connections was an obstacle to exporting, while 23% of businesses reckoned domestic transport links were a concern.
The BCC is calling for more airport capacity in south east England, road tolling and measures to encourage private sector investment in infrastructure.
The chambers would also like to see increases in airline taxation scrapped so British businesses can treat Europe "as their home turf".
BCC director general John Longworth said: "Encouraging more British firms to export should be the Government's number one priority. Exports are vital to creating and sustaining an economic recovery.
"More businesses are exporting in 2012 compared to last year, which is good news, but many still face barriers when looking to trade overseas.
"We need to unlock the potential of our existing and future exporters by improving transport links, both locally and nationally, and by slashing burdensome regulation that deters companies from taking their business abroad."