THE owners of two Largs sweetie shops have blasted council bosses for classing their businesses as essential - leaving them barred from cash grants unless they reopen.

Richard and Gloria Craigmile run The Candy Box and the Continental in Tron Place, which have been closed since lockdown.
But now council chiefs have said they are not eligible to receive any financial support because of the status their outlets have now been given.
The couple, who are both in their 60s, say they are worried their health will be put at risk if they are forced to trade and have been left baffled by the council's decision.

Largs and Millport Weekly News:
Richard told the News: "I am surprised that given we only produce luxury chocolate, sweets and tablet that we are being classed as a key supplier.
"The rest of the councils in Scotland have given sweetie shops such as ourselves non essential status."
Richard says during the first national lockdown they were allowed to close the premises and receive government grants - but were shocked to discover they will be left penniless this time around.
Son Lee said: "My parents are older and in the vulnerable category, it's totally unfair."
The family have approached MP Patricia Gibson for help but were told by her office the decision on their classification lies solely with North Ayrshire Council (NAC).
Richard added: "I have phoned up sweet shops elsewhere in Scotland and they have all received grants. I fear a public backlash when people see that we are open. I don't understand why North Ayrshire Council are taking this position.
"Even though it is my living, nobody can tell me that confectionary, tablet and fudge are essential items. They are luxuries.
"This is bureaucracy gone mad."

Largs and Millport Weekly News:
Largs councillor and NAC Cabinet member Alex Gallagher told the News he sympathises with the Craigmiles.
He added: "When people are being advised to stay at home, this is an unacceptable situation. I have referred the case to the council officers and we are looking at all possibilities to see if there is something we can do.
"My own feeling is that Mr and Mrs Craigmile sell a very narrow specialised range of products, and I would think to classify them as a purveyor of food is not a sensible interpretation of the guidelines.
"The officers however have told me that their business is classed as a food shop, so we need to see what can be done."
MSP Kenneth Gibson says the key to reversing the decision lies with the council and not the Scottish Government.
He added: "Scottish ministers make policy but do not make individual decisions on what are, or are not, essential shops. 
"Such decisions are taken at a local authority level as they are in a better position to assess what is, or is not, essential in individual communities.
"If the council has decided that the products being sold at this particular shop are essential then it does not need to close. If it’s closed then grants are not provided, although other support, such as rates relief for this entire financial year up until the end of June, for example, can be claimed.
"When reassessing Mr Craigmile’s shop they might reconsider their decision.
"Mr Craigmile was awarded a grant at the start of the first lockdown and the Scottish Government guidance regarding retail outlets has not changed. However, the council have decided not to award him a grant this time.
"The family have contacted their MP about this earlier in the week and she is awaiting a response from NAC's chief executive Craig Hatton."