The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has called on councils which have still not passed on government money to help firms hit by hikes in business rates to do so before Christmas.
A £300m business rates hardship fund was unveiled nine months ago ahead of a revaluation which meant some small firms faced rocketing bills.
But the Department of Communities and Local Government says 46 councils still have not distributed the cash.
FSB national chairman Mike Cherry said: 'The support promised by the hardship fund could make the difference between business life and death for many in these 46 areas this Christmas.
'Before council offices have their parties and close for the festive break, we call on these 46 local councils to do the right thing and help businesses that are struggling this Christmas.'