Britain's top banks fell short of their government targets to lend to small businesses last year, Bank of England data showed on Monday, dealing a blow to the Conservative-led coalition's hopes to get credit flowing through the economy to boost growth.
The BoE said the five banks that signed up to the Project Merlin deal failed to meet their target for lending to small and medium-sized businesses, making 74.9 billion pounds available, around 1 billion pounds below the 76 billion pound target.
However, banks exceeded their target for lending to all businesses, making a total of 214.9 billion pounds in credit available in 2011, above their 190 billion pound target.
The figures confirm data published by the British Bankers' Association on Friday.
The Conservative-led coalition government struck a deal with Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds, HSBC, Barclays and Santander UK last year to boost lending to businesses, but the scheme has been criticised for doing little to alleviate tight lending conditions for firms.
The BoE's own data showed net lending fell by 9.6 billion pounds last year.
(Reporting by Fiona Shaikh)