Retailers can hope for better working relationships with their banks after the Bank Task Force laid out 17 new actions designed to restore lost faith in lenders.

Commitments laid out by the recently formed taskforce of high street banks would help small businesses "thrive and grow", the British Bankers Association said.

They cover three broad areas: improving customer relationships; ensuring better access to finance, and providing better information.

A regular independent survey on the amount being loaned to small firms will also be published. This would paint a clearer picture of what was happening and end conflicting reports about lending levels, the Federation of Small Business (FSB) said.

Communication channels will also be strengthened with the development of new lending principles, along with a clearer appeals process for businesses who think they have been turned down unfairly.

FSB national chairman John Walker said the moves would go a long way towards rebuilding lost trust.

Look out for our finance special in the next issue.