MORE than 79,000 businesses in Scotland have benefited from special loans designed to help them through the pandemic, according to the UK Government.

At least 76,000 loans worth more than £2.1 billion have been provided under the “bounce back” lending scheme, according to the Treasury.

A further 3300 loans worth £758 million were provided under a business interruption scheme, while loans designed to help self-employed people are said to have benefitted 126,000 people.

The Treasury said the retail and construction sectors have had the largest take-up of the schemes.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “Our support for businesses and workers has provided a lifeline to employers up and down the country, supporting people to stay in jobs and protecting livelihoods.

“We will build on this as we move to the next stage of our recovery through the Winter Economy Plan, which will continue to protect jobs and help businesses through the months ahead.

Scottish Secretary Alistair Jack said: “The UK Government is doing all it can to stop the spread of coronavirus and to help Scotland’s economy through these turbulent times.

“Providing more than £2.9 billion in loans to 79,000 Scottish businesses is a key part of this.

“We are also supporting nearly half a million people in Scotland through our job schemes and have committed a further £9 billion to help employers keep workers on.”