Chief executive James Lowman said: “We are calling for the government to underwrite credit insurance.
"Many local shops have built their businesses up based on access to credit from their suppliers, and this has become increasingly restricted in the recession.
"We have seen a lot of initiatives to free up credit from banks and we now need to see more action to help cash flow for small shops."
He added: “In a survey of nearly 400 members we found that not one business had benefited from government schemes to open up lending from banks. Government initiatives to get banks lending are not yet working.”
The ACS made the call in its Budget submission, in which it also asked for a freeze in the national minimum wage.