FORGE Market bosses have given a caution welcome to the closing of a loophole that will see its traders finally be allowed to access a government support scheme.

The Glasgow Times told how businesses were not allowed to claim a small business grant of £10,000 due to a technicality.

But traders have campaigned relentless for a change to the scheme - and now they will be able to apply to lifeline funds in the same way as other small businesses.

General Manager at the East End institution, Andy Donaldson, said: “I am encouraged by the update that the Scottish Government is looking to extend small business, retail, hospitality and leisure grants to businesses like ours, where the landlord is the rates payer.

"If it is delivered, our traders will now have the opportunity to be rightly recognised and supported with same regards as businesses on the high street who have already been subsidised.

"We will see how it plays out, however it’s potentially a much needed light at the end of the tunnel that the spirit, understanding and patience of our traders deserve.”

Businesses with a rateable value of less than £18,000 are entitled to apply to their local authority for £10,000 grants.

But because the market traders pay their rates to The Forge Market, rather than directly to the council, they were not eligible.

Despite backing from market owners Geraud Markets, traders were locked out of the scheme.

But Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture announced on Tuesday the policy had been updated.

Local councillor Thomas Kerr had petitioned the Scottish Government for change.

He said: "I'm so pleased for Forge Market traders who will finally receive the funds they should have been entitled to from the beginning - this is a victory for their hard work.

"Let me be clear though, this loophole was entirely of the Scottish Government's making in its continued attempts to dilute the level of support offered in other parts of the United Kingdom.

"I'll now be coordinating with officials at Glasgow City Council to ensure that the funds are dispersed as quickly as possible and urge all traders to get in touch to see what level of support is now available."

Local MP David Linden added: “For several weeks now, I’ve been working hard to find a solution to the problem for the Forge Market traders and I’m delighted that the Scottish Government have heard and responded to my calls.

“I understand how difficult this time has been for small businesses, which deserve to be supported through this phase of the coronavirus outbreak.

"These enterprises are the backbone of Glasgow and we need to make sure they’re being assisted to weather the storm."