NI High Street Scheme

The NI High Street Scheme opened its online portal for applications on 27 September and its telephone application service on 11 October 2021. The aim of the scheme is to boost economic activity by providing every person in Northern Ireland, aged 18 and over, with a pre-paid Spend Local card worth £100 to spend in local businesses.

The Spend Local card can be used to purchase goods and services in businesses within Northern Ireland that have the facility to accept card payments. However, it cannot be used for online purchases, gambling or for financial and legal purposes. The card may be used for numerous transactions but limited to a maximum spend of £100.

The following Infographics provide information on verified applications for the Spend Local card from both the online portal and the telephone application service. An application is verified when the identity of the applicant has been confirmed by one or a combination of the matching services including the Electoral Register, Driver and Vehicle Agency and Department for the Communities.

Infographic - applications from eligible NI residents

The first Infographic provides information on the number of eligible NI residents aged 18 and over who have applied for their Spend Local card and been verified.

For the period 27 September to 22 October 2021

The key points are:

At 22 October 2021:

  • There were 1,163,915 verified applications for the NI High Street Scheme, of which 1,151,073 (99 per cent) were made online and 12,842 (1 per cent) were made by telephone.
  • Of the 1,163,915 verified applications, 613,097 (53 per cent) were from females and 550,818 (47 per cent) were from males.
  • Of the 1,163,915 verified applications, 1,006,800 (87 per cent) were from persons without a disability and 157,115 (13 per cent) were from persons with a disability.
  • Of the 1,163,915 verified applications, 297,648 (26 per cent) were from those aged 18-34, 295,000 (25 per cent) were from those aged 35-49, 307,313 (26 per cent) were from those aged 50-64 and 263,954 (23 per cent) were from those aged 65 and over.
  • The number of verified applications with a valid postcode1 ranged from 195,462 (17 per cent) in Belfast Local Government District to 69,599 (6 per cent) in Fermanagh and Omagh Local Government District.

1Note sums to 1,162,772 (1,143 applicants have been removed due to not having a postcode which matches a postcode in the postcode directory)

You can view the infographic for the period 27 September to 22 October at:

For the period 27 September to 15 October 2021

You can view the infographic for the period 27 September to 15 October at:

Infographic - take up

The second Infographic provides information on the take-up which is a comparison of those who have applied for the Spend Local card and been verified with the NI population aged 18 and over. 

For the period 27 September to 22 October 2021

The key points are

At 22 October 2021:

  • There was a 79 per cent take-up rate of verified applications for the NI High Street Scheme compared to the NI population aged 18 and over.
  • 82 per cent of females and 77 per cent of males had applied and been verified for the Spend Local card.
  • 87 per cent of verified applications for the Spend Local card were from persons without a disability and 13 per cent were from persons with a disability. This compares to an estimate of 28 per cent for the prevalence of disability in the population2.
  • 74 per cent of those aged 18-34 had applied and been verified for the Spend Local card compared to 81 per cent of those aged 35-49, 83 per cent of those aged 50-64 and 81 per cent of those aged 65 and over.
  • The take–up rate of verified applicants with a valid postcode3 for the NI High Street Scheme was highest (84 per cent) in Ards & North Down Local Government District and lowest (73 per cent) in Belfast Local Government District.

2 Data on limiting long-term illness for those aged 16+ from the Continuous Household Survey 2019/2020.

3Note 1,143 applicants have been removed due to not having a postcode which matches a postcode in the postcode directory

You can view the infographic for the period 27 September to 22 October 2021 at:

For the period 27 September to 15 October 2021

You can view the infographic for the period 27 September to 15 October 2021 at:

Further infographics

Updated Infographics will be published when a final set of verified applications is available.

Disability analysis

Please note that for the purposes of this analysis, having a disability is self- reported and is defined as someone answering ‘yes’ to the following registration question:

Are your day-to-day activities limited because of a health problem or disability which has lasted, or is expected to last, at least 12 months?

As there is no official data source on the prevalence of people with a disability, NISRA’s Continuous Household Survey was used. The proportion of people aged 16+ with a disability in 2019/20 (as defined above) was 28 per cent. This is being used as a proxy.

Sources of information

The sources of information used to compare the number of applications against the NI Population aged 18 and over (mid 2021) are:

 

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