Smaller firms around the UK are finding it increasingly costly to raise new finance, a Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) survey says.
More than two-fifths (42%) of firms described new credit as unaffordable, with 24% saying the opposite.
Only 31% were being offered interest rates of under 4%, down considerably from nearly 39% a year ago.
More than one-third (35%) were being offered interest rates of 7% or more on new lines of credit, up from 24% this time last year.
The research showed only 13% of smaller firms making applications for new finance in the third quarter of 2018.
Many of these businesses (38%) were applying for bank loans, but asset-based finance (30%), crowd-funding (16%) and peer-to-peer (9%) lending were on the increase.
The survey findings coincided with an increase in interest rates.
FSB chairman Mike Cherry said: “With borrowing costs for small firms already high, it’s critical that any future rate rises are carefully considered and gradual.
“For the first time in 30 years we have an environment where household outgoings are bigger than household incomes.
“Even a slight increase in consumer credit and mortgage costs is going to have a significant impact on the ability of shoppers, including small business owners, to spend on our struggling high streets.”