By Marcus Leach

Appearing before MPs on Wednesday Vince Cable condemned Britain’s biggest banks after more evidence that they are failing to increase lending to businesses.

Mr Cable said that the British Banking Association (BBA) figures, which show that companies received £4.7 billion less in loans in March compared with February, were “very disappointing” and hinted that the Government would consider extra measures to help lending to small businesses.

“In terms of access to finance, there is still a serious problem and that is confirmed to me every time I meet business people around the country," Cable said.

“We can’t allow banks – particularly those reliant on the taxpayer – to prevent growth in the real economy.

“Over the last six months, less than one in five businesses are approaching the banks for credit, with fewer than half being accepted.

“Small businesses struggled to get finance from the banks throughout the recession, with many turning to family and friends or credit cards to bridge the gap.

“We have put in place measures to try to counter this. If they don’t work we will have to try others.”