NICOLA Sturgeon has been accused of elitism by ignoring funding pleas from pubs and clubs but finding support for high-brow arts venues.

Glasgow nightclub owner Donald MacLeod has called on the First Minister to “let us know if you hate pubs and clubs” – as he vented his frustration at support being made available to “elite” venues such as theatres at the expense of his industry.

The concerns come as grassroots music venues warned MSPs that the sector will face an “absolute cliff edge” when emergency funding runs out in October – while many “will have to permanently close” if extra cash isn’t made available.

Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop confirmed that the majority of £97 million of emergency funding passed from the UK Government to Creative Scotland still hasn’t been allocated.

Nightclubs are still unable to re-open under the Scottish Government’s routemap out of the lockdown – and Mr MacLeod has warned that when the UK Government’s job retention scheme expires in October, it will “ruin people’s lives”.

He added: “Certainly there has been no help coming from the Scottish government to the night-time economy.

"Glasgow is the city of music and the city of culture. We have 200 businesses relying on it annually and thousands of employees."

The Garage and Cathouse owner has told the Scottish Government to “stop playing politics and get on with supporting the economy”.

He added: “You are seeing millions being given in grants to what I would call the 'elite' – the theatre organisations like the Tron getting £1.3 million.

"If you are going to shut a business down, it is incumbent on a government that is closing you down that they then look after it and we are not being looked after.”

Holyrood’s culture committee heard that grassroots music venues “cannot host social distanced performances”.

Nick Stewart, the Music Venues Alliance coordinator for Scotland, who also runs the Sneaky Petes music venue in Edinburgh, told MSPs that distancing restrictions would see his capacity reduced from 100 to just 12 people – and that would include performers and staff.

Mr Stewart stressed that unlike other lifeline funding handed out to other parts of the arts sector, £2.2 million of cash grassroots venues were given will expire at the end of October.

He said: “Thereafter, there is no further funding in place and this is a really crucial and really tricky areas for us.

“The £2.2m was decided because it was the exact fixed costs for the 80 grassroots music venues in Scotland to get through three months – the fixed costs being non-furloughable staff and paying for the rent, insurance, any hire purchase payments.”

He added: “Once we get to October 31, we’re at an absolute cliff edge, there’s no plan about what’s going to happen next and really specifically, that’s when JRS (job retention scheme) ends as well.

“It would be foolhardy for most businesses to try and continue at that point. We urgently need some kind of information about what kind of future funding we can get to keep us going. There must be a plan or we’re going to see mass closures.”

The arts industry also raised concerns that people working in the sector – particularly the self-employed – are also more likely to be “falling between the gaps” of the support available.

People missing out on the financial backing was also likely to have a negative impact on Edinburgh’s festivals when they are able to resume, MSPs heard.

Julia Amour, the director of Festivals Edinburgh, said: “We sit at the intersection of a huge range of interdependencies in the system – individual artists, freelance producers, venues, commercial companies who are presenting work, and so on and so forth.

“There’s a huge range of the schemes that some people have been able to draw on, but also really important gaps that have left out other people – particularly individuals in freelance positions.

“They fall between the stools in terms of being able to apply for the self-employed grant or the furlough assistance.

“That’s a great worry to a lot of us in the system because we can’t function without that pipeline working really well.”

The Scottish Beer and Pub Association (SBPA) has now warned that a ban on background music in pubs has “seen trade plummet across Scotland”.

The organisation is called on Ms Sturgeon to reverse her ban on music and sound from TV in pubs after guidance was updated o August 14, halting premises from playing music, including background music and sound from a TV.

SBPA CEO Emma McClarkin said: “The ban on music and sound from TV in pubs has seen trade plummet across Scotland, to the point where it is simply not viable to stay open. Takings are down as much as 20 per cent since the ban came in.

“Not only is it hammering the recovery of our sector, but there is evidence to suggest the policy is having the opposite of its desired effect. A lack of commentary at football matches makes it harder to control customers watching the game.

"Customers seeking privacy in their conversations are more likely to lean in and whisper. Rather than go to their local, people are gathering at home where safety measures are not in place.

“Music adds to the ambience and atmosphere of the pub. Without music our venues are losing more of their soul.”

Ms Sturgeon said she did not want to risk reaching a “tipping point” that allows the virus to “run riot again”.

She said: “We know that when people are shouting or speaking more loudly to be heard over music then that creates more aerosols so can potentially increase the risk of transmission.

“In order to get pubs open, one of the things we’re doing to try to lower the risk of transmission is to keep that at a lower level.

“We will talk to the sector about whether actually there was a certain decibel level that it was safe to have.

“So these things are not set in stone, we will continue to discuss and adapt and try to introduce as much normality as possible.”