A new survey shows that confidence in exporting has fallen among UK businesses.

The International Trade Survey undertaken by Trade and Export Finance in conjunction with AIG finds that 58.5% of the 1,600 UK-based companies that responded feel that exports will rise over the next year, down from 71.2% last year.

The survey also shows that access to finance continues to be the major hang up among exporters and potential exporters, a problem that grows more amplified as companies get smaller. The vast majority of those surveyed fund their business – exports or otherwise – using their own funds, with fewer than 50% using money borrowed from banks.

When looking to fund export orders, more than 50% of businesses with turnover of under £1mn have had difficulty accessing finance. For working capital facilities, the figure rises to over 60%.

Trade and export finance are very rarely used by respondents, with under 15% of companies with turnovers of over £25mn having used it. Letters of credit and overdraft remain the most commonly used financial products.

At the survey’s launch in London, Mark Runiewicz, the CEO of Trade and Export Finance told the audience and GTR that while the government’s attempts to stimulate the industry had shown some promise, there is huge room for improvement, saying: “UK Export Finance is being stymied as it can only provide services to the major banks.”

He urged the government to open the state guarantee to other banks and alternative financiers. Just 24% of all respondents had been offered support through UKEF, UKTI or any of the government’s other export-orientated services. While companies with turnover of under £1mn have doubled their awareness, it’s unlikely that banks are taking sufficient interest in firms of this size, said Runiewicz.

The survey comes in the same week as the news that net lending by British banks fell by £300mn in Q1, despite the fact that banks have taken advantage of the government’s Funding for Lending scheme (FLS) by borrowing to the tune of £2.6bn. FLS gives banks and building societies that increase retail and commercial lending access to low interest government loans. Of the participating banks, Lloyds trimmed £1bn from its UK lending book in Q1, Santander £2.2bn and RBS £1.6bn. Only Barclays and Nationwide increased lending, by £1.1bn each.

The survey also revealed that 60% of respondents do not use credit risk products, up from 47% in 2012. Will Clark, head of UK trade credit at AIG, told the audience that “something has to change”.

He recommended further government intervention, suggesting the mooted public investment bank as an option. Clark said that despite a big drop in trade credit defaults since 2008, the industry has struggled to re-engage with the SME customer base it lost during and after the crisis. He stressed, however, that the insurance market “has the capacity” to support exporters, should they wish to return.

The 1,600 survey respondents have a combined turnover of £12.6bn, £6.3bn of which is related to exports. Combined, they employ 111,000 staff.