LABOUR has accused the SNP of a “pitiful” support package to businesses hit by the pandemic – claiming that only £10 million of the £1 billion promised is new money.

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has set out its plans to help businesses recover from the Covid-19 crisis, with a focus on revitalising Scotland’s high streets.

The policy includes £719 million of rates relief, which was agreed in Finance Secretary Kate Forbes’ budget in February – while Labour has also highlighted a five-year £275 million fund for two centres which was included in last year’s programme for government.

Labour has pointed to a £10 million ‘Scotland loves local’ fund as the only extra funding committed to support struggling businesses by the SNP.

The party’s deputy leader, Jackie Baillie, said: "Scotland's businesses and high streets have been devastated by coronavirus, but all the SNP is willing to offer them next term is a measly £10 million extra.

"Businesses are struggling, with many having received little or no support during the pandemic, and this pitiful offering falls well short of what is needed.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon sets out SNP's plans to help business recovery

"After 14 years in Government and seven years as the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon is clearly out of ideas.

"Once again she has had to resort to recycling existing policies in an attempt to hide the pathetic offer she is actually making to Scotland's businesses.

"Scottish businesses deserve better than an extra 1%, and Scotland deserves better than the SNP.

"Scottish Labour is committed to delivering a national recovery plan that will support businesses, revitalise high streets and get our economy back on track."

Announcing the SNP’s strategy, Ms Sturgeon thanked businesses – many of whom have been forced to close their doors during the pandemic for the “sacrifices they have made to help get the virus under control over the last 12 months”.

She stated: “Revitalising our town centres and communities was already a priority of the SNP government before the pandemic struck, but that agenda is now essential.”

The First Minister stated: “In government, the SNP has already gone further than the UK Government by extending 100% rates relief for the hardest-hit sectors for a full 12 months.

“And if re-elected, we will take forward plans to spend £275 million over the life of the parliament to support community-led regeneration and town centre revitalisation – as well as supporting the development of 20-minute neighbourhoods.”

She said this would be a “significant government investment” but said everyone could play their part in helping their local high street.