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Minister says voucher scheme should not only go to the fully vaccinated

The Economy Minister has rejected a suggestion from Health Minister that only people who are double-vaccinated could be allowed to cash in on a high street voucher scheme.
Mr Swann said he would be interested in bringing the idea to the Northern Irelan…

The Economy Minister has rejected a suggestion from Health Minister that only people who are double-vaccinated could be allowed to cash in on a high street voucher scheme.

Mr Swann said he would be interested in bringing the idea to the Northern Ireland Executive as an incentive to persuade more people to get jabbed.

Robin Swann's comments come as a number of hospitals here are struggling to cope with a surge in Covid-19 admissions.

The Belfast Trust has said that 60% of people admitted to hospitals in its area have not been vaccinated.

But a spokesperson for the Economy Minister Gordon Lyons has rejected the idea, stating it could "jeopardise the entire scheme."

The voucher initiate was announced last year to support traders hit by lockdown restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The scheme would see individuals issued with pre-paid cards of a value of up to GBP100, which could be used in shops, but not online.

"It is a non-runner"

Retail NI has described the idea has a "non-runner."

Retail NI, Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said: "I understand where Minister Swann is coming from and fully agree with him on the need to increase the numbers of those getting both vaccines, but he is wrong to link this to the High Street Voucher"

This scheme is about supporting struggling independent retailers, the regeneration of our high streets and boosting our shattered economy. It's not about vaccine take up and should not be linked in this confusing way

Glyn Roberts, Retail NI Chief Executive

"Who would actually enforce this?

Would it be the Department of Health or the shop owner?

"This voucher has already been significantly delayed and we now need to focus on getting it out to shopper's asap and avoid any further unnecessary distractions"