British firms have ring of confidence but banks are seen as missing link

Confidence among British businesses is at a three-year high, even though half of the country's small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) say banks are still not lending enough.

The annual Business Index, a survey of 11,000 SMEs in 17 countries, found that UK companies are increasingly confident about their own prospects, recording the highest score of all European countries.

Confidence in both the UK and global economy has also improved, according to the survey, commissioned by the accountancy firm Sage.

However, most British businesses feel that banks are failing to make the most of the upturn in sentiment. More than half the owners and managers polled said banks aren't doing enough to make funding available to businesses, while 73 per cent said the Government needs to put more pressure on banks to lend.

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