NI High Street Voucher Scheme to be launched by end of summer

  • NI Economy Minister Diane Dodds has said the High Street Voucher Scheme - in which every adult will be eligible for a £100 voucher to spend on their local high street -  is to be launched towards the end of summer.

    Speaking on Question Time at Stormont on Monday, the Minister added that the scheme is a "cornerstone" of her "economy action plan", which aims to provide a £140m injection of support to towns and city centres.

    Minister Dodds was asked about the terms and conditions of the scheme by Green Party MLA Clare Bailey.

    She commented that it is expected to help protect jobs and is a "significant step to kickstarting recovery" for the Northern Ireland economy.

    The Minister continued: "The multiplier effect of the scheme for people spending more than the value of the card and the ripple effects, will deliver economic benefits.”

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    Responding to a question from Linda Dillon of Sinn Fein, the Minister said her department will work with local businesses to ensure the “messaging is right around it”.

    The SDLP’s Sinead McLaughlin asked if an economic assessment had been carried out in relation to the ripple effect of the scheme, to which Mrs Dodds said that in Jersey and Malta, where similar schemes were established, multiplier effects were evident.

    As the scheme is designed to support the local economy in its lockdown recovery, the 'vouchers', which will be distrubuted as pre-paid cards similar to debit and credit cards, can only be spent in “bricks and mortar” businesses (meaning they cannot be used for online purchases). 

    If a business can accept debit and credit cards for payment, then it will be able to accept the High Street Scheme card.

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