One in three small firms have not been able to secure finance in the past year, and only a small number received the amount they applied for, according to a new study.
A survey of 1,000 small to medium sized companies found a "huge shortfall" in the level of funding they needed.
Almost two out of three of those polled by Bibby Financial Services blamed the Government for failing to provide an environment that encouraged growth.
Around one in four said businesses were doing all they could to drive the economy forward.
Edward Winterton, commercial director at Bibby Financial Services, said the findings highlighted the size of the gap between funding supply and demand.
"The results are further proof that businesses desperately require greater access to finance and that to date, schemes introduced by the Government to address the issue have failed to work," he said.