George Osborne
Chancellor George Osborne has struggled to get Britain's exports up as much as he has wanted which is a major part of his economic strategy Reuters

Britain's economic recovery is being held back from its full potential by a lack of access to credit for businesses, says the British Chambers of Commerce.

According to the BCC's quarterly economic survey for the final three months of 2013, the UK's manufacturing and service sectors were back to the pre-financial crisis performance levels of 2007.

But the report also showed that cashflow for manufacturing had fallen back from the third quarter in 2013, which revealed that access to credit was still a problem for businesses.

"With most key balances in this quarter higher than their pre-recession levels in 2007, it is clear that the UK recovery is likely to continue to strengthen in the short term," said David Kern, chief economist at the BCC.

However he added: "On its part, the government has to work to increase the flow of lending to growing businesses through a fully-funded Business Bank, to ease the logjam of those firms striving to expand."

John Longworth, Director General of the BCC echoed the concerns about the credit problems businesses were still facing.

"Cashflow continues to be an ongoing concern, and may hold businesses back from expanding to meet the growing levels of demand," he said.

"We must give companies the opportunity to get the finance they need to go out and trade the world if we are to succeed in rebalancing the economy."

Results in Detail

Manufacturers' export sales at the national level, a key area targeted by Chancellor George Osborne for improvement, remained unchanged at a balance of 35% during the fourth quarter of 2013.

Yet this was still the best level since the fourth quarter of 2010.

The manufacturing balances for export sales were in positive territory for all regions and nations during the fourth quarter.

The strongest region for export sales was East England at 63%, while London had the weakest export sales at 7%.

Similarly employment levels in the manufacturing sector were positive in all regions and nations for the second successive quarter.

However, the in the services sector the percentage of firms reporting difficulties recruiting new staff was 60%, up six percentage points and the highest level since the third quarter of 2008.

Service sector firms based in the East Midlands experienced the greatest difficulties in hiring new staff at 88%.

The BCC surveyed 7,922 businesses between November 11 and December 2, 2013