SCOTLAND’s Finance and Economy Secretary has warned businesses may not get back to "more normality" until the autumn as she announced £12 million of funding for traders stuck in level 2 restrictions.

Kate Forbes paid tribute to those who “put the needs of the country ahead of the own financial or business interests” during the pandemic.

But she warned that the “challenge is stark” for businesses still facing economic uncertainty.

Ms Forbes added: “Getting businesses open safely and back to full profitability is crucial and work is ongoing looking at how we move to more normality later in the summer or earlier in the autumn.”

The Finance Secretary said that the Scottish Government has now provided more than £90 million to taxi drivers – with all drivers who previously received a £1,500 grant to be handed a second payment this month.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon reveals which areas will move to Level One coronavirus rules

Taxi operators will also receive tiered grants through local authorities – with some receiving up to £15,000.

A further £25 million will support the culture sector through the second round of the Performing Arts Venue Relief Fund and the Culture Organisations and Venues Recovery Fund.

Ms Forbes set out £12 million of funding for businesses that were expected to see Covid restrictions eased before being paused by Nicola Sturgeon yesterday.

She said: “Businesses who were expecting to open or see reduced restrictions as a result of moving to level 1, who will now remain in level 2, will receive weekly support similar to the strategic framework business fund.

“There will also be additional discretionary funding.”

The details of the funding are expected to be published later today.

Ms Forbes also issued “an open invitation” to anybody “who wants to play their part in rebuilding our country”.

READ MORE: Tories accuse Nicola Sturgeon of leaving 14 councils in Covid 'limbo'

She said: "Join us in leading that economic recovery. Our vision is nothing short of economic transformation. This has to be a national endeavor.

“Wherever you work and in whatever capacity, if you think you can serve our country as we face the prospect of rebuilding, this is your personal invitation.

“Our strength is our united vision to work together across party lines, across sectors, across regions – to rebuild.

“We must unashamedly use the experience, the expertise and the ingenuity of government, businesses, trade unions and workforces to deliver greater, greener and fairer prosperity.”

Labour's finance spokesperson, Daniel Johnson, has called for an effort to "renew and improve" Scotland's economy as part of the recovery.

He said: “We need bold action to achieve economic recovery but we cannot go back to how things were. As we rebuild and recover, we must renew and improve our economy so that it works for all.  

“We must strive to eliminate inequality, to provide high wage high productivity jobs; to create an investment led economy where prosperity is generated and retained here in Scotland. A cooperative economy where everyone has a stake.

“These are measurable things and so we must set clear targets and report against them. We call on the Scottish Government to do just that.”