BT has announced a package of support to help the Scotland’s 334,000 small businesses “get better positioned for recovery and growth following the coronavirus outbreak and as they prepare for a post-Brexit future”.

The launch of its Small Business Support Scheme sees the company introduce a range of new measures to help small businesses "boost their connectivity, cashflow and confidence".

The telecoms giant said the move includes a commitment to pay its 4,500 small business suppliers promptly and within 30 days of being invoiced and helping firms fund the cost of ultrafast business connections.

It will also assist with access to free resources such as business mentoring, digital skills, marketing tools and mental health support.

Alan Lees, director of BT’s enterprise business in Scotland, said: “With small businesses accounting for more than 99 per cent of all businesses in Scotland, they are the beating heart of our economy, high streets and communities. They deserve the support of each and every one of us to help them thrive into the future.

“At BT, we can use our technology, scale and expertise to help small businesses kick-start recovery and growth by boosting their connectivity, cashflow and confidence. So we’ve listened to the needs of small businesses and are stepping up to deliver a support scheme which should have something for everyone - whether you’re a sole trader, tech-start up, micro business or a larger firm.”

READ MORE: Small firms adapt digital technology amid coronavirus crisis

Robbie Bellshaw, IT manager, HWEnergy biomass solution company in Fort William, said: “The last few months have clearly been very difficult for Scottish businesses. It’s meant a need to adapt so that employees can work remotely, including from home.

“We were supported to setup the BT One Phone service so that our customers, who wanted to reach our teams all over the UK, could get through on the landline numbers they already had, including for teams who didn’t previously have a mobile phone. These are all little things that can help make a difference to small businesses during this tricky time.”

Jamie Hepburn, Scottish Government business minister, said: “The past few months have been incredibly challenging for all businesses, particularly our SMEs, and it’s important that business and government work together to drive forward Scotland’s economic recovery and renewal. This scheme from BT will help local SMEs improve their digital capabilities, and is a welcome addition to the support available to businesses.”

Tracy Black, CBI Scotland director, said: “BT’s commitment to supporting small businesses through these tough times will be incredibly valuable.

"The CBI has championed digital connectivity and skills as indispensable to all sectors of the economy and in every part of Scotland, and this initiative focussed on support to smaller firms is particularly welcome.”