M&E specialist Bancroft has been forced to make about 15 redundancies as the credit crunch starts to affect more specialist firms, it is understood.

The move at the £60m-turnover firm, which had employed about 140 people, emerged in the same week that the CBI warned that SMEs would be hit by a sharp wave of job losses this winter if the banks failed to lend to firms.

John Cridland, deputy director general of the CBI, told MPs in a select committee hearing on Tuesday: “Over the winter, there will be a significant refinancing by a really high number of businesses and we really need to see banks become more open to business.”

He added: “One of the worst consequences of the credit crunch is the relationship between businesses and banks. Firms are unable to borrow their way through the downturn as they did in other slowdowns over the past decade.”

Bancroft, which has its headquarters in Ilford in London, has worked on schemes including the David Beckham Academy in Greenwich, and has also carried out work for banks UBS and Lehman Brothers.

Seventy per cent of the firm’s turnover comes from fast track fit-out and refurbishment, with most of its projects ranging between £500,000 and £7m in value. It also has a special works division that works on schemes between £100,000 and £1m.

Bancroft was unavailable for comment.