Small business, already under stress, will be driven into more difficulties if banks continue failing to pass along the Bank of England's rate cuts to customers, industry leaders said. Despite the government's efforts to loosen up lending, British banks have been increasing overdraft and loan rates for small businesses in recent months, as well as tightening lending criteria. If banks do not start sharing benefits of the rate cuts, there could be 1,000 small-business failures a week, said Stephen Alambritis of the Federation of Small Business.

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