A city councillor has called on the Finance Secretary to close a loophole exposed in the Scottish Government's emergency business grants amid the coronavirus crisis. 

The Glasgow Times told earlier this week how business owners at the Forge Market fear that their businesses may collapse as a result of the coronavirus lockdown - as they cannot access lifeline funding. 

More than 100 independent businesses at the market are missing out on the Scottish Government's Business Support Fund grants during the coronavirus crisis.

As they pay their business rates as part of their rent to the market's owners, it means that they do not meet the criteria for a grant as they effectively sub let from Geraud Markets. 

Glasgow Times:

Thomas Kerr, Conservative councillor for the Shettleston ward, wrote in his letter: "In other parts of the United Kingdom, this oversight has been addressed through the allocation of discretionary funds to councils that allow them to accommodate small businesses that fall outside of the scope of the business grant scheme. 

"It is not acceptable that a market trader in Gloucester is able to access the money that enables them to pay staff/rent/other fixed costs but in Glasgow they are left to fend for themselves. 

"The Forge Market has been an integral part of the East End of Glasgow for as long as I can remember and for market traders to be treated differently to other retail outlets is a slap in the face to the community that I represent.

Glasgow Times:

READ MORE: Fears over future of The Forge Market traders as businesses are victims of funding loophole

"A Glasgow City Council spokesman made clear that their hands are tied in relation to this matter.

"I would urge you to consider closing this loophole and giving local authorities both the discrecion and the resources that have been allocated in other parts of the United Kingdom in order to provide some relief to small businesses as these who, through no fault of their own, find themselves out-with the scope of the support you have currently outlined."

We told yesterday that bosses at the Forge Market are backing their traders “100 per cent” as they fight for fair treatment and access to grants from the Scottish Government. 

Glasgow Times:

READ MORE: Forge Market bosses 'backing traders 100 per cent' as they fight for fair treatment by Scottish Government

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Our total package for businesses during this unprecedented economic crisis now totals £2.3 billion and yesterday we increased our Business Support Fund by a further £40 million to £185 million.

“Ministers are listening to concerns from businesses as we continue to explore how best to help.

“It’s precisely because we recognised that there were a number of individuals and smaller firms ineligible for support from the UK Government, or not yet in receipt of the funds they need to survive, that we introduced a £100 million grant fund, which has been topped up to £185 million, to support SMEs and newly self-employed people.

“We would encourage businesses to visit FindBusinessSupport.gov.scot for what support might be available to them.”