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“Phil Orford, of the Forum of Private Businesses, described figures as ‘disappointing’, and said his members are ‘simply not turning to the banks’.

Adam Marshall, of the British Chambers of Commerce, said ‘the door often remains shut’ for young, fast-growing businesses.

The Federation of Small Businesses also warned ‘obtaining finance remains an issue’.

And Goncalo de Vasconcelos of the crowdfunding website Syndicate Room, said: ‘The Funding for Lending Scheme may have made a difference for homeowners but it has had zero impact whatsoever on Britain’s small and medium-sized firms.’

A report last week found more than a quarter of small businesses were refused an overdraft and more than a third for a loan over the last 18 months.”