Economy minister Gordon Lyons has said that over 160,000 pre-paid cards have been sent out to members of the Northern Ireland community so far, with another 50,000 all ready to be shipped out. The pre-paid cards, as part of the high street voucher scheme, can be used to purchase £100 of products from local businesses. They cannot be used to buy products online, as the scheme is hoping to stimulate trade in the high streets of the country and bring the buzz back that was lost during the long coronavirus crisis.
Applications For The Cards Are Rolling In
Mr Lyons confirmed that over 1.2 million applications for the cards have so far been received and of these approximately 1 million have been processed and verified. The cards are gong out to all members of the community who are 18 years or over but they must apply to receive them from an online portal.
Speaking about the scheme and about the fact that he has received a pre-paid card to spend himself, Gordon Lyons is quoted on the Newsletter website as saying:
“I have no special privileges but I have been able to get my spend local card, it is a little bit smaller than the one that I was going around with earlier in the summer time,” he told MLAs.
“It’s great that we’re going to have these cards delivered right across Northern Ireland to be spent in local independent retailers, and in hospitality, and in entertainment and leisure and other services.”
On the subject of how many applications they have so far verified he said: “I think that’s good news for businesses right across Northern Ireland that suffered so much during the lockdown.”
Faults With A Small Number Have Been Ironed Out
And on the fact that there have been a few faults found in some of the cards he said: “There has been a number of very isolated incidents of people not being able to use their card due to the business, they’re largely larger multi-nationals who are registered in GB and there has been a coding issue with the card, however that has been a very small number and we have found a fix to that,”
This is all good news and all we can really add is let us hope everyone who is eligible takes the trouble to apply for the high street vouchers so that it can give local businesses a real boost in the run up to Christmas. It is also important that businesses take the time to promote the scheme so that they can make the most out of the opportunity.