Economy Minister Lyons confirms deployment of NI high street voucher – .

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Economy Minister Lyons confirms deployment of NI high street voucher – .


Economy Minister Gordon Lyons revealed that the rollout of the much-delayed voucher program would kick off “in early September” with cards delivered shortly thereafter.

r Lyon also confirmed that the financial services company PFS has won the contract for its operation.

The High Street Stimulus program will see a £ 100 prepaid card given to each adult for use in shops and hotels across Northern Ireland.

Mr Lyons told media gathered in Carrickfergus on Thursday that registering for an online portal to receive the card would open “in early September” with cards to be delivered to people’s homes “a certain number of days” after registration. success.

The minister said the card application process will involve verifying the identity of people using the electoral register.

The card design will also feature a “Spend Local” logo.

Earlier this week, an argument erupted between the Minister of the Economy and the Minister of Health after Robin Swann suggested the program could be linked to vaccination status.

However, the idea was rejected by Mr Lyons, his department arguing that it would create “unnecessary bureaucracy”, legal problems and ultimately put the project in danger of never taking off.

Deputy Prime Minister Michelle O’Neill has also ruled out any plans to tie the Main Street voucher program to dual vaccination.

Announcing more details on the program, Mr. Lyons said: “After a strong procurement process, I am pleased to announce that the contract for the High Street program has been awarded to PFS.

“This program is a key element of my ministry’s economic recovery action plan and will give a very welcome boost to our shopping streets which have been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. This improvement is what our local businesses need and deserve.

“This means up to 1.4 million people will have an extra £ 100 each to spend on our main streets rather than online. This will help bring many more customers back through the doors of local retail, hospitality and other sectors.

“I look forward to seeing the benefits this program will bring to the wide range of businesses located in the heart of towns, villages and towns across Northern Ireland. “

The announcement has also been well received by retail and hospitality groups here, who are hoping it will give the local Main Street a much needed boost.

Colin Neill, Managing Director of Hospitality Ulster, said: “Hospitality businesses are an integral part of the main streets of our city, town and village and have suffered greatly from the impact of Covid. The High Street Scheme is a really welcome and important way for us to support all of our struggling businesses.

“Supporting Main Street not only helps businesses, but also the jobs of our friends and family who work in our hospitality industry. “

Retail NI General Manager Glyn Roberts said, “This program is a win-win solution for our members and our shopping streets. This will be a significant increase in spending for struggling independent retailers as we move forward on the long road to recovery.

“70 pence for every pound spent at an independent retailer is recycled back into the economy, supporting local producers, farmers and manufacturers. It is therefore vital that consumers make a special effort to spend this prepaid card with local merchants in order to guarantee the biggest boost possible to our economy. “

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