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Northern Ireland High Street Voucher scheme: Department yet to confirm date for launch

The Department for the Economy still has to confirm a date for when the High Street Scheme is due to launch.
The Department has said that the scheme, which will see everyone over the age of 18 in Northern Ireland eligible for a £100 voucher to spend, w…

The Department for the Economy still has to confirm a date for when the High Street Scheme is due to launch. The Department has said that the scheme, which will see everyone over the age of 18 in Northern Ireland eligible for a GBP100 voucher to spend, will start on a date after Sunday, September 12. However six days ahead of this date - it has still not confirmed exactly when the scheme will go live.

It has said that the details for it are still being finalised and Economy Minister Gordon Lyons will provide updates, including a start date, in the near future. A DfE spokesperson said: "The legislation, once enacted, will allow the High Street Scheme to commence on a date after September 12, 2021. "The Department is currently finalising the scheme and the Minister will announce further details - including a date for the opening of registrations - in the near future."

Applications for the scheme are due to close on October 11. The electoral register is being used as the primary database to verify those who have applied for the GBP100 voucher, although the Department has said that others will be used to check those who are not on it. The money must be spent by November 30 as the department does not want to displace the spending that would normally happen in the run-up to Christmas.

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When the online portal opens mid September, you must:

  • Register online on NI Direct.

    You will be presented with an information page on the High Street Scheme and a button to launch the registration process.

  • 8 pieces of information will be requested during the registration process; Name, Address, DOB, Gender, Disability, NI Number, Driving Licence number (optional) and mobile phone number and email address.

  • You can register to complete an application on behalf of a limited number of other people, however, you must have their permission and their personal details.

  • Following completion of the online registration process, you will receive an email confirming the receipt of the application. The information provided will first be checked against electoral register database followed by Driver Vehicle Licencing Agency. This is an automated process with no access to your personal information.

  • Once your identity has been confirmed the details required to complete the process will be sent to the pre-paid card provider and you will receive an email to inform you that the registration process is now complete and when you should expect to receive your card.

  • If you are unsuccessful in the first phase of checks then your identity will be checked against a further suite of government databases.

    If you identity is confirmed then your details will be forwarded to the pre-paid card provider and you will receive a confirmation email. If your application is unsuccessful, you will be informed and directed to the appeals process.

Details on the pre-paid GBP100 voucher:

  • Following a successful application to the scheme, you will be provided with a GBP100 pre-paid card which can be used in any local business with debit/credit card technology. The card can be used in card terminals that include a swipe facility as well as a pin facility.

  • Once you receive your card you will be required to verify it by SMS, phone or on the computer before you are able to use it.

    You will be able to use it alongside other forms of payment subject to the merchant's agreement.

  • You can use the card to order and pay over the phone to purchase services from local businesses however you will not be able to purchase online service or products, to pay for financial services or to purchase legal services.

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