BBC Radio 4's Money Box Live
Wednesday, 23 November 2011 at 1502 GMT On Radio 4 and Online
Despite increasingly challenging conditions the number of small businesses in the UK continues to grow.
Figures recently released by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills revealed that at the start of 2011 there were an estimated 4.5 million private sector businesses of which 99.2% were small enterprises.
These businesses are vital to the UK economy as they account for 58% of private sector employment and 48% of private sector turnover.
Earlier this month figures were released showing that Project Merlin, a government-brokered deal to free up bank lending to SME's in the UK, has missed lending targets for the third quarter of 2011 by nearly £1bn.
The same agreement also set targets for overall lending, which the banks are on course to beat, showing that larger businesses are not struggling to receive lending.
Small businesses face a number of issues - rising overheads and fuel prices, interpreting the large number of new employment laws that are coming in, lack of demand due to the credit crunch and of course getting access to that vital finance.
Do you run a small business?
Have you approached your bank for a loan and were you successful?
What are the biggest issues facing your business?
Is the government doing enough to support small business?
Joining Vincent Duggelby on the programme:
• Andrew Cave, Head of Policy at the Federation of Small Business
• Rob Dyke , Business Debtline
• Mary Monfries, tax partner and head of UK private business, PricewaterhouseCoopers
Presenter: Vincent Duggleby
Producer: Ben Carter