Companies are continuing to shun the Government's £5bn credit insurance top-up scheme, despite efforts to widen coverage and make it more attractive.

The construction industry, which has been hard hit by the withdrawal of supplier cover by commercial credit insurers, is the latest to criticise the scheme, with just one out of 100 firms surveyed in a recent poll taking part. The Construction Products Association said that even that firm had found it 'very expensive with very limited cover'.

'We fought hard to persuade the Government to introduce a top-up scheme, but it is clear that by the time this was announced in the April Budget, much of the damage had already been done,' said Michael Ankers, the CPA's chief executive. 'It is clear from this survey that the scope and cost of the scheme has made it unattractive to all but a few companies," he said. "Unless the Government is prepared to extend the scheme beyond the end of the year, any changes are unlikely to have any real, beneficial impact.'

Independent On Sunday