Most retailers say the Government’s credit insurance top-up scheme has not helped their business, while one of the biggest insurers admitted the scheme had not been as effective as hoped.

Atradius UK & Ireland head of risk Marc Henstridge admitted the initiative has “not been the success we’d have liked it to have been”.

Only a handful of businesses have taken advantage of the top-up scheme and the British Retail Consortium found almost 85% of large retailers and 95% of small to medium retailers had yet to see a positive impact from its introduction.

The BRC is calling for an extension of the scheme, which comes to an end on December 31.

The organisation believes eligibility for the scheme’s cover period should be put back from October last year to April 2008 – when insurers started to remove cover – for a real impact to be felt.