BUSINESS groups have called on the Scottish Government to use “unspent” COVID response money to help businesses cope with rising costs, after a report estimated that several billion pounds of funds have not been spent.

A report from Audit Scotland claimed that the Scottish Government has spent £11.8bn of the £15.5bn allocated for its COVID-19 response.

Groups are now calling on the Scottish Government to release the unspent funds in order to help businesses cope with issues such as the drastic increase in energy prices.

Leon Thompson, executive director for UK Hospitality Scotland, said the report “highlights a considerable underspend in the allocation of COVID support funds”.

“The funds spent by the Scottish Government provided a lifeline to businesses, but the challenges for hospitality continue,” said Thompson.

“With increased energy bills, of up to and in some instances exceeding 200 per cent, rising supply costs and customers already scaling back on discretionary spend, now is the time to consider how it can allocate this underspend to support businesses.

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