Northern Ireland's 'Spend Local' voucher scheme opens

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Northern Ireland's 'Spend Local' voucher scheme opens

Related tags: Northern ireland

Applications for a high street voucher scheme intended to boost hospitality and retail businesses in Northern Ireland that have been impacted by Covid-19 has opened.

The initiative, which was announced by the Northern Ireland Executive back in April, is open to everyone in the country aged 18 and over.

More than one million people are eligible to apply for the Spend Local pre-paid card, which comes loaded with £100 to use in hospitality and retail venues before the end of November.

At the moment, people can only apply online, but from 11 October telephone services will be available.

All applicants will be asked to provide their name, address, age, gender, disability status, national insurance number, email address and telephone number.

The first cards should be sent out by 4 October, with online applications open until 25 October.

Economy Minister Gordon Lyons said: "This is a big day in the rollout of the High Street scheme.

"Around 1.4 million people are entitled to apply for their Spend Local card, so we expect the portal to be extremely busy in the first few days.

"That is why it is important to remember that the portal will be open for four weeks and that everyone will have enough time to apply for their card. So please be patient."

Hospitality Ulster chief executive Colin Neil has welcomed the scheme.

He said: "There is a great deal of uncertainty in the industry at the minute. The pandemic has had a devastating impact right across the sector.

"We welcome the introduction of the High Street Scheme, which is a great opportunity for people to support jobs of friends and family who work in hospitality while enjoying some of the best food and drink in the world."

Related topics: Business & Legislation

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