EACH month seems to bring more unwelcome news for British firms seeking credit. Business lending, which has been falling steadily for four years, dipped below £400 billion ($612 billion) by the beginning of May. That is 20% below its level four years ago. Then, on June 2nd, data showed that a policy intended to funnel cheap cash to firms via the banking system is not offsetting the crunch. Participants in the Funding for Lending Scheme—a group that includes all of the big high-street banks except HSBC—cut credit by £300m in the first quarter of 2013.

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