The High Street Scheme has injected over £100m so far into our retail, hospitality and service sectors, Economy Minister Gordon Lyons revealed today.
With just two weeks left until the scheme closes on December 14, the Minister said:
“The purpose of the High Street Scheme is to stimulate local businesses, including retail, hospitality and service sector outlets, which had been hit hardest during the pandemic. It is great to report that we have now boosted spending in these sectors by at least £100m and that the scheme is delivering that much-needed cash injection.
“I have been told by businesses, chambers of commerce and trade representatives from all parts of Northern Ireland how important Spend Local cards have been in helping them recover from the severest impacts of the pandemic.”
However, with two weeks of the scheme remaining, the Minister is keen to ensure that all Spend Local cards are used in full.
He said: “December 14 is not far away. To those people who have yet to activate or use their Spend Local card, I urge you to do it now. It is important that every card holder spends every penny on their £100 card in order to maximise the benefit. Every penny counts, so check you balance and spend it all.
“I have been hugely encouraged that so many people have carefully considered where best to use their Spend Local card to help their local shops, restaurants and services. I want to thank them for that. As we enter the last fortnight, my message remains: spend it now, spend it all and spend it local.”
The Minister also reminded cardholders that as well as spending local, they can also support businesses through shopping safely by wearing a face covering, maintaining social distancing and using contactless payment where possible.
Cardholders can check their balance, view transaction history, terms and conditions or find answers to frequently asked questions relating to the cards by visiting the DfE Spend Local page.
When an applicant receives their card, they must activate it through a computer-operated phone system or text message and make the first payment using a pin, before they can start to use it for contactless payments.
Notes to editors:
1. The High Street Scheme closes on December 14 when the Spend Local pre-paid cards will cease to be valid.
2. The Department is required under Section 75 to monitor the implementation of its policies which includes collecting data on age, sex and disability.
3. When an applicant receives their card, they will need to activate the card through a computer-operated phone system or text message and make the first payment using a pin, before they can start to use it for contactless payments.
4. The cards can be used in all participating businesses in Northern Ireland. They cannot be used online or for gambling or some financial and legal services.
5. The telephone support service opened on 11 October. The later opening of the telephone service was implemented to encourage more people to apply online when the portal opened on 27 September and avoid using the phone line leaving it available for those who did not have access to, or were not able to use, the internet. It closed at 6pm on October 25.
6. The Department’s Economic Recovery Action Plan is available on the Department's ERAP website.
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