Chancellor Alistair Darling’s credit cover top-up too narrow

Credit insurers Euler Hermes and Atradius say the government’s Budget-announced credit insurance top-up scheme should have been wider and will only affect a tiny number of firms, the Independent reports.

Fabrice Desnos, the chief executive of Euler Hermes UK said: "What is impossible to predict is how many companies will actually want to pay for it. We don't expect the take-up for the scheme to be very high".

Shaun Purrington, a director at Atradius,said: "The application of the scheme could have been broader."

Only businesses that have their insurance cover scaled back between 1 April and 31 December 2009 will be able to apply for top-up cover, which the Government is to offer for six months. Businesses that see their cover withdrawn altogether will not be eligible for the scheme.

Amy Collins, a partner at the law firm Olswang, said: "The scheme does not seem to take account of the fact that retail businesses have been affected by the downturn in the credit insurance market for many months now."