Mark Carney, who started as governor of the Bank of England on Monday (July 1), arrived to chair his first Monetary Policy Committee briefing in London.

As the new head of the central bank, Carney will seek to speed up Britain's exit from almost two years of economic stagnation.

Bank of England data revealed that total lending to small businesses fell by £4.4bn in the three months to May, exposing the Canadian's tough task ahead.

Bank of England credit easing initiatives, such as the Funding for Lending Scheme (FLS) and Extended Collateral Term Repo (ECTR), has so far failed to boost lending to small-and-medium sized businesses (SMEs), which are seen as the lifeblood of the ailing UK economy.

Total loans to SMEs including overdrafts fell 2.8% in the three months to May, said the Bank of England, from £174bn (€203.1bn, $265bn) to £169.6bn

Canada's former central bank chief, taking over from Mervyn King, is expected to signal within weeks a prolonged period of low interest rates.