BUSINESSES throughout East Lothian have received more than £17.5 million to help them during the coronavirus pandemic.

East Lothian Council has stepped in to do what it can to support businesses during the pandemic, with money coming from the Business Support Grants scheme, established by the Scottish Government.

Councillor John McMillan, the local authority’s spokesman for economic development and tourism, was pleased to be able to help out.

He said: “This has been perhaps the most challenging time for businesses that we have ever experienced, so I am really pleased that the council has been able to provide as much support as possible, and will continue to do so.

“A big ‘thank you’ to colleagues who worked really hard to process these grants as quickly as possible.”

A total of £223,000 has also been paid out in newly self-employed hardship grants and B&B/serviced accommodation hardship grants.

The local authority also recently launched the ‘Stay Safe, Support Local, Love East Lothian’ campaign, which encourages locals and visitors to fully explore the range of quality local businesses throughout East Lothian.

Mr McMillan said: “As our high streets, hospitality industry and tourism-related businesses continue to re-

open for business, our focus is moving more towards supporting them to attract more business and to do so safely.

“The message in our Stay Safe, Support Local, Love East Lothian campaign is very much that East Lothian is back open for business and leisure, and we are ready to welcome customers and visitors existing and new.

“The council will continue to work with national bodies such as VisitScotland and Skills Development Scotland, and local businesses from every sector, to ensure there is support in place for all our industries to thrive and to ensure our workforce is as highly skilled as possible.

“I would urge all businesses in East Lothian to engage with us and to contact economic development for support with anything from starting-up, growing your business, moving or finding premises, skills training and funding.

“By working together, we can do our best to ensure our valued, varied and innovative businesses survive and thrive after this pandemic.”

The Courier’s Love Local Business campaign urges people to back local businesses as they attempt to bounce back from the pandemic. Let’s rally together and show them the support they need to get through this tough time.