An Alliance MLA has voiced concerns about the "absolutely unacceptable" potential for security breaches with the High Street Voucher scheme. tewart Dickson said constituents had told him they received cards meant for other people. "I have already taken this up with the Department this morning as there is no telling just how far reaching these mistakes go," said Alliance's economy spokesperson.
"I am currently awaiting an official response - which includes how these mistakes can be quickly rectified, compounded by the fact there is not central helpline designed to help those with questions and concerns." Mr Dickson said it potentially meant "a very serious security breach" with constituents receiving letters addressed to them but with cards attached for other people. "How has the printing system managed to get things so wrong?
It is just the latest in a long line of questions that are emerging around the roll out of this scheme," he said. "Not only that, but there seems to be even less clarity as to how people can get in touch with the Department to have the situation corrected. This has added even more confusion and stress for those in receipt of mistakes today.
"Overall we must remember this scheme is designed to encourage spending in our local communities, any and all a delay only impacts the livelihoods of local businesses further." A spokesperson for the Department for the Economy commented: "More than 1.1 million people have submitted an application for a Spend Local card under the High Street Scheme. "Over 987,000 of those have been verified and the first 100,000 Spend Local cards have this week been issued to successful applicants, with more to follow in the coming weeks."
They continued: "We are aware of a very small number of cases where successful applicants under the High Street Scheme have received a correctly addressed letter with a Spend Local card attached that bears the wrong name. "Working with the card issuer, we have established how this occurred and the card issuer will rectify these cases as quickly as possible. We apologise for any inconvenience this has caused.
"Should anyone receive a Spend Local card that does not have the correct name on it, we ask them to email [email protected] or phone the customer care line on the Spend Local letter, and the matter will be resolved."
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