Funding has been diverted towards coastal businesses and organisations around Scotland to support them during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The £7.2m Scottish Crown Estate (SCE) money will be devolved to the 26 local authorities which have coastlines to share.
The councils can use their remaining share to support struggling coastal enterprises and organisations, after agreement by the Scottish Government and Cosla.
Funding from the SCE net revenue is normally used for projects delivering coastal community benefit.
Environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “Given the unprecedented pressures which businesses are currently facing as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, we are doing everything we can to support them.
“By widening the remit for the use of SCE revenues we are enabling local authorities to directly support local coastal businesses, including third sector organisations, facing the full force of this economic shock.
“Following discussions with Cosla we have written to local authorities to encourage them to look at ways they can use these funds, where required, to help hard-pressed businesses and organisations to get through this challenging period.”
The funding is on top of the £2.2bn package of business support already announced by the Scottish Government.
Steven Heddle, Cosla’s environment and economy spokesman said: “This letter is a timely reminder that councils play a key role in supporting local businesses and their coastal communities, especially in these exceptionally challenging times, and that there is scope for funding from Crown Estate net revenues to contribute to this.
“I also welcome the Scottish Government’s intention to ensure that the next tranche of funding is distributed as swiftly as possible to local authorities this year as joint work progresses on the longer-term review to develop an appropriate approach for the future distribution methodology.”
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