There are high hopes that the High Street Voucher scheme, which is due to be launched in September, can provide a real boost to local businesses, helping to get consumers connected with their local shops once more.
The Registration Process Starts Next Month
Everyone over the age of 18 in Northern Ireland will receive a pre-paid card worth £100 to spend in their local shops, the cards will not be able to be used to buy products or services online. The registration process to receive these cards will start next month and SDLP Economy Spokesperson Sinéad McLaughlin is hoping that the vast majority of shoppers will use the cards in locally owned independent businesses, to show their support for the local economy and shops that are the lifeblood of a particular area.
Providing A Lifeline To Struggling Retailers
Talking to Belfast Live, she said:
“The High Street Voucher scheme can provide a lifeline to struggling retailers, providing the vouchers are used in the way intended.
“Many brick and mortar retailers have suffered by being unable to trade normally during the coronavirus pandemic. This additional spend could be of enormous benefit to them – and for some retailers will be the difference between closure and continued business.
“I would encourage people to use this money to support locally owned independent retailers. While I realise this might not be suitable for everyone, these are the businesses who lost out the most during the pandemic, with many being completely closed for long periods of time.
Small, Locally Owned Businesses Contribute So Much
“I know many of our local businesses are struggling after reopening their doors. Many of these small locally owned businesses contribute so much to life in our local communities and are part of what makes areas unique.
“Their bespoke offerings also help encourage our tourism trade. If we lose them, they are unlikely to be replaced.
“The vouchers will also be of enormous assistance to those families and individuals who have lost income from the pandemic and are in financial hardship.
“I know that others who have not experienced financial distress will consider using their vouchers to support local charities or help foodbanks.
“I have no doubt that these organisations would appreciate it during what could be a difficult winter for many people.”
Let us hope that the voucher scheme is a great success and helps local businesses after a chastening 18 months.