By Claire West

Responding to the Federation of Small Businesses report, which shows that small firms continue to struggle to find finance, Rob Donaldson, Baker Tilly’s Head of M&A and Private Equity said: "We’re getting conflicting messages from business associations about this issue.

Although the report says that small businesses are struggling to obtain funding, the banking industry claims that they are lending more and that demand for finance has fallen. Only last week Vince Cable spoke about plans for a ‘Business Bank’ to help with this very issue, but I think the government needs to do more by putting to work the considerable liquidity and cash that UK companies and investors are currently sitting on.

"In my experience, it is getting harder for small businesses to obtain funding. The application process alone has become so difficult and long-winded that you can see why business owners would be put off," Donaldson added.

"We know that various alternative forms of funding have sprung up in response to this problem recently, and I think businesses would be wise to do some research into whether they can bypass the banks and source additional finance elsewhere."

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