Commenting on the quarterly Credit Conditions Survey published today by the Bank of England, David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“The findings of the survey confirm the difficult circumstances facing the UK economy in the first quarter of the year and the pressures facing businesses, especially smaller firms. While the overall availability of credit has increased a little in the first quarter, the amount offered to small-and medium- sized businesses is broadly unchanged.

“The findings confirm that a lack of demand remains a major obstacle to adequate credit growth. In particular, there has been a sharp decline in demand for credit from small businesses. More worryingly, spreads on lending to smaller companies have increased, adding to pressures on their profits.

“Overall, while there are no major surprises in this survey, it highlights the risks facing the UK recovery and the importance of making every effort to support growth, particularly for smaller firms.”