The Scottish Government has been urged to offer more coronavirus support to companies with multiple properties.
A letter from Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing to Tory MSP Rachael Hamilton states firms with more than one business premises will not be able to apply for funding for each property.
This appears to be contrary to guidance from the UK Government for firms south of the border, which suggests qualifying firms can apply for a grant of up to £25,000 per property.
Tory leader Jackson Carlaw said the difference “needs to be fixed as a matter of urgency”.
He added: “Nicola Sturgeon was quite clear when she said she would replicate the UK Government scheme.
“But now there seems to be a very apparent difference and it will lead to small businesses with more than one premises losing out.
“These are exactly the kind of businesses which need the Scottish Government’s support but if Fergus Ewing’s admission is anything to go by, they’re being sold well short.”
He added: “We all understand this is first and foremost a public health emergency but the importance of these small and medium businesses to our economy cannot be underestimated.
“They employ people, serve people and keep things going in villages, towns and cities across the country.
“They will play a pivotal part in any recovery from this crisis. They need action now.”
In his letter, Mr Ewing said: “We are targeting our Business Grant funding to support small businesses and those medium-sized businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sector who are liable for non-domestic rates to maximise the number of businesses we can support.
“One grant is available per property where the ratepayer has one property, and for those with multiple properties it is one grant per business.”
In response to the outbreak last month, Holyrood ministers announced a £2.2 billion package of measures, which they said would replicate a similar package assembled by the UK Government.
This includes a £10,000 grant for small and rural businesses and 100% rates relief for hospitality, leisure and retail companies.
Also offered is a £25,000 grant for hospitality firms that have a rateable value between £18,000 and £51,000.
Scottish finance secretary Kate Forbes said: “The Scottish Government is going to great lengths to support businesses and has offered a package of support worth £2.2 billion for businesses.
“Because there are more businesses eligible for the £10,000 grant in Scotland due to the more generous Small Business Bonus Scheme, and recognising the other business support available to cover wages, we have taken the decision to limit the £10,000 and £25,000 grants to one per business.
“This has allowed us to offer support to other important sectors, including creative industries, aviation and fishing, which are not receiving support elsewhere in the UK.
“As such, parity with other nations could require us to strip those sectors of support, which could arguably cause even greater hardship.”