AROUND £6.5million has been paid to East Renfrewshire businesses to get them through the coronavirus crisis – but hundreds of eligible firms are missing out on financial help.

The Scottish Government’s Coronavirus Business Support Fund, which is being administered by local authorities, aims to help companies survive the Covid-19 pandemic – protecting jobs and promoting economic recovery.

Since the scheme opened on March 24, there have been 711 applications to East Renfrewshire Council under the business support fund and 540 grants paid out to ratepayers, worth a total of £6.42m.

Around 75 per cent of applications have resulted in grants so far – higher than the average rate for Scotland of 60 per cent.

There have been 612 applications for a small business grant of up to £10,000, with 472 awarded to date, providing support worth £4.72m.

In addition, there have been 99 applications for help from the retail, hospitality and leisure fund, which pays out grants of up to £25,000, with 68 of these approved, totalling £1.7m.

A newly self-employed hardship fund is also in place and it will provide £2,000 to those unable to access other schemes.

East Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce (ERCC) chief executive Laura Molloy has welcomed the support on offer to local businesses and has urged firms to seek help if they have yet to apply.

She stressed that ‘zero-rated’ firms – those who don’t pay non-domestic rates – are still eligible for cash.

Ms Molloy added: “The feedback we have had is that, if people have submitted applications, it’s in the process. The council has every possible person working to get them through.

“People are getting money. The issue is the small number of firms who are eligible who don’t know they’re eligible. We think there’s a couple of hundred.”

Council leader Tony Buchanan has thanked staff who are helping to get vital funding to local businesses “as quickly as possible.”

He said: “Getting this financial assistance to local businesses is critical to our local economy during these difficult times. I encourage any businesses who may be eligible for financial support to apply.”

For full eligibility criteria and to apply online, visit the business support page.