A GLASGOW SNP councillor has described the uptake of a Scottish Government scheme to help small firms as "fantastic news" for the city.
Craig Mackay, who is standing for re-election in the Anderston/City ward and is the SNP's regeneration and economy spokesman in the City Chambers, said firms had benefited by £44.9million from the Small Business Bonus Scheme.
He said figures showed thousands of businesses in Glasgow now paid no business rates, with many more having discounted bills.
Mr Mackay said: "In a time of severe economic difficulty, when the policies of the UK Government have seen the country enter a double dip recession, it is tremendous news that such positive support for our business base can be announced.
"The Small Business Bonus Scheme is one that supports the lifeblood of our economy.
"The SNP in Glasgow is ambitious and determined to build on this excellent news as it plans to bring Glasgow out of recession faster than other cities in Scotland and across the UK.
"If businesses think they may be eligible, I would encourage them to sign up for the Small Business Bonus Scheme as soon as they can."
Mark McDonald, SNP MSP and member of the Scottish Parliament finance committee, said the new figures were testament to the importance the SNP Government has placed on helping small businesses during tough economic times.
He said: "Just this week, we have seen the UK has technically re-entered recession.
"We don't know yet whether this is the case in Scotland, so we must do all we can to support local economies across the country.
"That is why I am delighted SNP councils have promised to work with the Scottish Government to protect the Small Business Bonus for the lifetime of this Parliament."