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Northern Ireland to hand out £100 shopping vouchers to boost high street recovery

Tom Bottomley
30 July 2021

Northern Ireland Economy Minister Gordon Lyons has announced that the £145m High Street Scheme (HSS), which will grant everyone aged 18 and over in Northern Ireland a pre-paid card worth £100 spend on their local high street, has been given the green light.

The contract for the scheme’s delivery has been awarded to Prepaid Financial Services (PFS), and it is planned that the registration process will open to the public in September.

Lyons has also revealed the "Spend Local" logo which will feature on each of the cards, with the focus on helping local bricks-and-mortar businesses struggling after the lockdowns.

Speaking during a visit to businesses in Carrickfergus, he said: “After a robust procurement process, I am pleased to announce that the contract for the High Street Scheme has been awarded to PFS.

“This scheme is a key element of my Department’s Economic Recovery Action Plan and will give a very welcome boost to our high streets which were hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. This uplift is what our local businesses need and deserve.

“It will mean up to 1.4 million people will have an extra £100 each to spend on our high streets rather than online. This will help bring many more customers back through the doors of local retail, hospitality and other sectors.

“I look forward to seeing the benefits this scheme will bring to the wide range of businesses situated in the heart of towns, villages and cities across Northern Ireland.”

Aodhán Connolly, Director of the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium, added: “The past year has been one of the hardest on record for our retail industry and our high streets because of the pandemic. This scheme will give a welcome boost to high street retailers and other consumer-facing sectors in towns and cities in Northern Ireland.

“It will create a virtuous circle of spending that supports our economy, boosts local commerce and gives our shoppers some retail and hospitality therapy. We would encourage everyone who is eligible to register for the scheme and make every penny count.”


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