Only 15 firms have considered using the coalition's much-trumpeted £1.5bn Direct Lending Scheme, aimed at boosting overseas sales of British products, in its first seven months, undermining the Government's pledge of an "export-led recovery".
The Shadow Business Secretary, Chuka Umunna, said yesterday that "scheme after scheme... supposed to help more firms export have failed to have any impact whatsoever".
The scheme, launched in September, offers overseas buyers loans of up to £50m to buy British goods and services, if they have failed to secure credit elsewhere. However, the Business minister, Michael Fallon, has admitted that only one out of 15 inquiries has resulted in a loan application.
A second scheme, the £5bn Export Refinancing Facility, is finally launching this month, after it was expected to be up and running by the end of 2012.
Mr Umunna said: "Ministers promised an export-led recovery, but the truth is they are badly letting down British business."