Close Brothers Asset Finance has responded to a recent report by UK Finance, that lending to small business by the UK’s biggest lenders is in decline, by pledging to do its part to curb this trend.

A recent report by industry group UK finance highlighted that lending to SMEs has seen a 10% per cent decline from 2014 to 2018.

Close Brothers Asset Finance said it is determined to play its part to reverse the trend and ensure the health of the SME sector, which accounts for 60% of employment in the UK.

Neil Davies, chief executive at Close Brother Asset Finance and Leasing, said: “Our own research of 1,000 SMEs tells us that 40% of firms have missed business opportunity in the last 12 months due to a lack of available finance.”

“This rises to 68% for London businesses, and as a key economic region of the UK, this is particularly concerning,” he added.

He also said this is occurring despite an “appetite for investing,” with 62% of business owners polled saying they plan to seek funding for business investment in the coming 12 months.

“We’re very much open for business and carefully consider every application we receive from both new and existing customers. Despite the fluctuating economic conditions the UK’s experienced over the past few years, we’ve consistently grown our loan book and attract new customers in the sectors we service – which speaks to our willingness to keep supporting the UK’s small to medium enterprises,” Davies added.

According to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), at the start of 2019 there were 5.8m small businesses (with 0-49 employees) representing 99.3% of private sector businesses. SMEs account for 99.9% of the business population, equivalent to 5.9m businesses.