26/08/2021

High Street Voucher Scheme To Open For Applications In September

The Northern Ireland High Street Voucher Scheme will launch "after 12 September", Stormont's Economy Committee has reported.

The Scheme will be open to everyone in NI aged 18 and over, and it is understood that the application process will close on 11 October.

According to reports, the £100 pre-paid card "will have to be spent by 30 November", a deadline which is said to have been imposed to avoid impacting spending during the Christmas shopping period.

People will need to be registered to vote in order to qualify for the Scheme, as applications will be checked against the new electoral register.

Welcoming the confirmation from departmental officials that the voucher scheme is set to open for applications in September, MLA and Economy Committee member Stephen Dunne said: "The £100 card voucher scheme being delivered by the Economy Minister is an excellent initiative which will bring a real and timely boost to local businesses right across Northern Ireland.

"The Committee heard directly from the officials who are working on the implementation and rollout of the Scheme and it was a useful opportunity to raise some queries around the workings of the card.
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"There is a real appetite and enthusiasm amongst the public and local businesses for the cards to start being delivered and spent.

"The scheme is rightly designed to bring both a short to medium term boost to businesses, but also importantly bring a longer term change in spending back towards local businesses.

"The cards will encourage people back into our local town centres and villages to shop, eat out and avail of services. I have every confidence that this scheme will bring long term benefits to our local economy whereby it will encourage people who may have got out of the way of shopping in person or eating out, to be back out enjoying the high quality of our local independent retailers, our hospitality sector and the many services on offer across Northern Ireland.

"During the briefing I took the opportunity to highlight the importance of having a dedicated helpline available to support those applicants who may not have access to online facilities to apply for, and to activate their £100 card. I also asked the Department to ensure the application process is made as straightforward as possible and also to have a clear communication strategy to maximise the uptake and success of this scheme."

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