Small firms ‘take long Christmas’

"Obviously small retailers won’t be closing, but small manufacturers and self-employed workers such as electricians and plumbers, will be downing tools."

The banking industry recently revised its guidelines for dealing with small firms to try to help them through the economic downturn.

Under the changes, banks will have to be more proactive in contacting firms they think might be in trouble.

The government also announced new measures to help small firms in the pre-Budget report, including the ability to spread tax bills, and increased access to loans.