The specialist commercial finance provider, which has doubled its net lending to UK SMEs and professions since 2015, has pledged to make an additional £50 million of funding available to businesses who are specifically seeking finance for asset-related purchases.

The new 'Asset Heroes' initiative will run until the end of 2017 and UK SMEs from any industry sector are eligible to apply for funding.

Wesleyan Bank offers flexible short-term and long-term finance solutions to enable SMEs to invest in IT software and hardware, plant machinery and office equipment in addition to building refurbishments and relocations, by spreading the cost over one to five years.

Wesleyan Bank's annual SME Attitudes to Finance research found that 30% of firms who are planning future investments in the next 12 months are most likely to implement new IT software and digital technologies to increase efficiency. This is followed by purchasing specialist equipment (24%).

But despite stating their desire to grow their business, only 21% of SMEs said they intend to borrow more money this year compared to 2016.

Explanations included concerns over being in debt (57%) and experiencing greater financial pressures due to rising operating costs during the past few months (40%).

Steve Deutsch, chief executive of Wesleyan Bank, said: “Given the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, it's only natural for small businesses to be cautious about making a financial investment.

“However, investing in new assets can often be the best way to boost revenues, attract and retain customers and strengthen a firm's competitive position.”