The Economy Minister has announced an extension to the Spend Local Voucher in Northern Ireland. To date, over 1.024 million cards have been dispatched, over 580,000 of these have been activated. The GBP100 pre-paid cards are designed to provide a boost for those businesses hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic.
Gordon Lyons had been facing calls to extend the period for people to spend their vouchers to take account of delays in issuing the cards. And on Tuesday he announced: "Over GBP26.5m has now been injected into our local economy. These are quite remarkable statistics and, while it is still early days, I think it is fair to say the process of recovery on our high streets is now under way.
"By the end of this week, cards will have been dispatched to at least 95% of applicants that we have been able to match on the information held on the databases. And by the middle of next week, cards will have been dispatched to all those verified to date. "It remains the case that most people have four weeks to spend their card, but I recognise that this will not be the case for everyone.
"Therefore in order to offer these applicants a fair timescale to use their card, I can today announce that I am extending the deadline to use the Spend Local cards by two weeks - from 30 November to 14 December. I know this is something that MLAs have requested and I am happy to agree. This will mean that the vast majority of people will have at least four weeks to use their card."
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