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Business lending offers signs of improvement

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The Bank of England has said that more money is being made available for business borrowing.

Its quarterly Credit Conditions Survey revealed that improved liquidity among the banks had resulted in a rise in the amount of credit on offer to businesses.

The survey also suggested that corporate credit is all set to ease further during the next quarter.

But the view was contested by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC).

Steve Hughes of the BCC argued that the Bank’s survey tended to concentrate on large and medium-size firms.

Mr Hughes said that a BCC poll conducted over the same period as that covered by the Bank’s survey suggested that small businesses are continuing to struggle to find finance.

Of the businesses that responded to the BCC survey, 46 per cent reported a rise in bank fees and charges in the past six months, and 30 per cent said their relationship with their bank had deteriorated.

The Bank of England has so far channeled some £175 billion into its quantitative easing programme, aimed at buying up assets and so improving the movement of finance through the banks and the broader economy.