The Scottish Government’s Small Business Bonus Scheme provided more than £5million of support to firms across the Falkirk Council area in 2017-18, official figures show.

The scheme, launched by the SNP in 2008-09, helps local companies by reducing their rates liability or taking them out of business rates altogether.

Businesses across Scotland received relief worth a total of £240.6million in the last financial year. In the Falkirk Council area the amount was £5.2million – a 15.5% increase on 2016-17.

Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson said: “The Small Business Bonus Scheme helps to protect local jobs and gives smaller companies valuable breathing space to grow and thrive.

“The £5.2million of rates support given to firms across Falkirk district shows the Scottish Government’s commitment to creating a business environment where local companies can flourish.”