Despite the Bank of England pumping £200bn into the economy, a third of companies reported that access to finance has become harder.
The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) published its latest Monthly Business Survey yesterday, revealing that 33% of companies in the UK found that accessing finance had been more difficult in the past three months.
When the same question was asked in June this year, just 20% of businesses believed access to finance had worsened. In the same month, 6% of firms felt the situation had improved, compared with 3% in the latest survey in November.
However, of the 400 business surveyed, 64% stated that the biggest barrier to their growth over the next year was a lack of consumer demand, while 18% cited lack of credit.
BCC director general David Frost commented: "Our latest survey results show that the biggest issue facing British businesses is still demand for products and services. This means any economic recovery is still fragile."
He added: "It is clear that the huge sums that have been injected into the financial system by quantitative easing are still not reaching small and medium-sized businesses in anything like the scale required for business to invest for future success.
"The Pre-Budget Report on December 9 must include measures that encourage companies to invest and improve confidence. Announcing that 2011's planned increase in National Insurance contributions will be scrapped would be a good start."