THE Scottish Government has released figures showing that around 65,000 coronavirus grants, worth £741 million, have been distributed to Scottish businesses.

About £63m was paid in the last week, compared to £58m and £138m in the previous towo weeks. The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said £1.2 billion has been earmarked for the schemes, which sees firms receive grants of £10,000 or £25,000 and additional grants for firms with multiple properties.

The FSB said it has urged Public Finance Minister Ben Macpherson to extend the scheme for other businesses with property-based overheads currently excluded from help. They also said there was a need to improve its administration. Andrew McRae, FSB’s Scotland policy chair, said: “More money reached Scottish smaller firms this week than last. We’re grateful that this vital help is reaching local firms, although we’d highlight that there are still around 16,000 applications in the pipeline.

“FSB spoke with the Scottish Government this week about extending help to businesses facing property costs that are currently excluded from help, like firms that operate from co-working spaces, markets and shared offices. We’re confident that policymakers can find a way to help.

“We also pressed home to the need to ensure businesses applying for help are treated consistently across the country.”