But doubts still surround credit availability.

Richard Lambert, director-general of the CBI, has said Alistair Darling’s pre-Budget report is good news for small businesses, but has also highlighted ongoing problems with the availability of trade credit.

Lambert was speaking on Tuesday at a City summit organised by Marsh. The broking giant scheduled the event, which was attended by 200 of its key clients, to help its customers understand the financial crisis, as revealed by Insurance Times in October.

A 1p corporation tax increase for small businesses was deferred by the chancellor in the pre-Budget report on Monday.

After his keynote speech, Lambert told Insurance Times: “I think what happened yesterday is helpful for small businesses and I think there are a number of measures there that will make a real difference. However, the big question still is about the credit availability and the way purchasing capital finance and trade credit insurance is available to them.

“The fiscal boost that came yesterday was positive but the real determination is on the credit side – that will make the difference.”