By Scott Wright

THE pace with which cash coronavirus grants are reaching businesses in Scotland is continuing to slow, prompting a call for action by ministers to clear the backlog.

Figures released by the Scottish Government this week show £58 million in grants was distributed to firms between May 5 and 12, compared with £95m between April 28 and May 4, and £138m from April 1 to April 27.

More than 59,000 grants worth £679m had been awarded by May 12 out of more than 78,000 applications received for the Small Business Grant Scheme and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Business Grant Scheme, government figures show. Ministers have allocated funding of £1.2bn for the schemes, which provide grants of £10,000 or £25,000, and additional sums for firms with multiple properties.

Andrew McRae, policy chair of the Federation of Small Businesses in Scotland, said: “The most important thing is that money continues to reach Scottish smaller firms. But today’s statistics suggest that grants are not being processed as quickly as they once were, and likely thousands of applications are weeks old. We want to talk to ministers about how the Scottish Government can work with councils to clear the outstanding paperwork.”

FSB Scotland called for the grants to be expanded to cover indirect rate payers, such as firms operating from shared offices.