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NI High Street Voucher: Warning people may face ‘several weeks’ wait to receive their card

People have been warned they now face waiting “several weeks” to receive a Northern Ireland High Street Voucher.
More than 400,000 High Street Voucher application requests were made in the first day of the portal launch on September 27 with users exper…

People have been warned they now face waiting "several weeks" to receive a Northern Ireland High Street Voucher. More than 400,000 High Street Voucher application requests were made in the first day of the portal launch on September 27 with users experiencing lengthy waits to access the site and receiving email confirmations. Available to everyone over the age of 18, the cards are designed to give a boost to the local economy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

READ MORE : NI High Street Voucher Scheme: shoppers report issues with rollout The cards will have to be used before the end of November and you can apply between now and October 25. Cards were expected to arrive around a week to 10 days after your application goes through.

But according to the scheme's official website this cannot be guaranteed with people facing a longer wait. The www.economy-ni.gov.uk website warns: "It is not possible to say how long you will have to wait. "Applicants Spend Local prepaid cards will be delivered as soon as possible but, due to the anticipated large number of applications, some applicants may have to wait several weeks to receive their card.

You are asked to be patient as the majority of successful applicants should have a minimum of four weeks to use their cards." Around 1.4million people are set to apply for the cards and Retail NI has previously urged people to be patient. The Department for the Economy is set to add another GBP21million into its High Street Voucher scheme to cover the risk of receiving more applications than initially expected.

The GBP145million initiative is a key part of Economy Minister Gordon Lyon 's economic recovery action plan, worth GBP275million in total. The Spend Local scheme was been designed to help those businesses who suffered the most due to restrictions. However, Economy Minister Gordon Lyons has assured that the system was always running and open.

The scheme will see all those aged over 18 eligible for a GBP100 pre-paid card to spend on the high street, aimed at supporting local businesses which have been devastated by Covid. The Economy Department has stressed people should receive the card within 7-10 days after applying but due to the sheer volume of cards being issued reportedly stated "some people may need to wait longer because the card provider has to manufacture and distribute cards for up to 1.5 million people." Speaking to BBC Evening Extra, earlier this week the Economy Minister said numbers today are "above and beyond" anything his team had expected.

Minister Lyons added: "So far today, 441,112 requests for applications on the website so I think people can understand the interest there is in this scheme. Some of those are duplicates. I am pleased now to say 161,000 application links have been issued to those who have applied.

"That means more than one in 10 in Northern Ireland that are eligible will now have received their link. Of those, almost 80,000 applications have been completed. This is above and beyond anything that we had expected on the first day.

Mr Lyons said the application portal would be open until October 25, so there was no need for everyone to register immediately.

How to apply for the High Street Voucher scheme

To apply for the scheme, simply visit this link. Once you press the apply button you will be asked, as a security measure, to enter your email address. A link will then be sent to your email inbox which will take you straight to the application form.

The form requires the following information:

  • Your National Insurance number
  • Your full name
  • Your address and postcode
  • Your date of birth
  • Your sex
  • Telephone number
  • Disability including whether you have a visual impairment
  • Driving Licence Number
  • Your email address will be prepopulated

Key dates

  • October 4 - first Spend Local prepaid cards issue
  • October 11 - telephone service opens for applications
  • October 25 - online portal and telephone service for applications closes
  • October 25 - the last qualifying date for those turning 18 to be eligible to apply for a Spend Local card
  • November 30 - High Street Scheme closes and the Spend Local prepaid cards will cease to be valid

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