Lending to small businesses by high street banks fell throughout the UK in 2012.
According to figures released by the British Banking Association (BBA), lending to small businesses during 2012 dropped in 98 out of 120 UK postcode areas compared to the previous year.
Only 22 postcodes saw an increase in borrowing, with businesses in Wales and Scotland able to secure credit more easily than in other parts of the UK. Llandrindod Wells, Swansea, Dumfries, Edinburgh and Kirkwell were among the areas that experienced a rise.
Overall, lending to small businesses reduced by £4.5bn to £100.3bn in 2012 compared to 2011 although the amount of cash deposited by small firms increased by £7.2bn over the period.
BBA chief executive Anthony Browne said the figures showed that UK banks were making over £100bn available for the “engine room of the economy” but said the lending was down due to businesses building up cash reserves and paying off debts rather than taking on more borrowing.
Business secretary Vince Cable said it was “frustrating that these figures show the declining amount of money going to small businesses from the banks”.
Shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna added: “This new regional and local data from the BBA demonstrates that small firms across Britain are still struggling to get access to the finance they need.”
There are also plans to publish more detailed figures towards the end of the year which will break the country down into 10,000 postcodes.