The Northern Ireland High Street Voucher Scheme still has no introduction date yet despite being announced last year. The scheme was announced by former Economy Minister Diane Dodds and she claimed it would be up and running in order to help local businesses keep trading during the quieter autumn period. As part of Stormont's Economic Recovery Action Plan, the initiative is designed to help local shops that have been hit hardest by the economic impact of the pandemic. This includes those in the retail and hospitality.
The voucher scheme will give each person in Northern Ireland over the age of 18 a pre-paid card worth GBP100 to spend in "bricks and mortar businesses" on their local high street. However, a definite date or the roll-out of a media campaign to inform Northern Ireland residents about how it all will work has not been confirmed. In response to a question tabled by Independent MLA Claire Sugden, the Economy Minister said on July 2: "The finer detail of the scheme continues to be worked though by officials and further information will be made available through a multi-media advertising campaign to reach all audiences, prior to its implementation."
It's hoped the voucher scheme will inject GBP140million into the economy, safeguarding jobs and businesses. The pre-paid card can be used in any business so long as they can accept debit cards. The only exclusions to this are online purchases, gambling or use for the purposes of legal and financial services.
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