Economy Minister Gordon Lyons today encouraged retailers, hospitality and service sectors across Northern Ireland to show their support for the High Street Support Scheme, which opens applications between the September 27 and October 25.
Minister of Economy Gordon Lyons
The ministry has released a digital suite of promotional material for all qualifying retail, hospitality and service businesses, which are now available from nibusinessinfo. These tools can be used by retailers to show their support for the program and to encourage shoppers to give a boost to local businesses and their community.
Additionally, an advertising campaign was launched to encourage shoppers to use their card to support their local businesses.
The minister said: âThe High Street Scheme is designed to boost businesses in the retail, hospitality and service sectors in the wake of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. This is unprecedented in Northern Ireland, and I urge all businesses to show their support to help maximize the benefits of Spend Local cards. The first step should be to share the digital promotional material on your social media platforms.
âI also urge shoppers to use their Spend Local cards wisely to support the local economy and local communities. A small expense can have a big effect.
Retail NI chief executive Glyn Roberts said the program comes after a very difficult time for retailers across Northern Ireland.
He said: âThe High Street Support Scheme is a welcome step on the long road to recovery for retailers in Northern Ireland and I encourage all in our industry to give serious thought to how they can encourage them. people to use their Â£ 100 Spend Local card with their Business. Keep in mind that 70 pence for every pound spent at an independent retailer is recycled back into the local economy. If consumers make a special effort to spend their Â£ 100 with local merchants, they will also ensure that the money is used to reinvigorate the community at large as well. “
Hospitality Ulster Managing Director Colin Neil said the impact of Covid-19 continues to present major challenges for the hospitality industry in Northern Ireland.
He said: âThere is a lot of uncertainty in the industry right now. The pandemic has had a devastating impact on the entire sector. We welcome the introduction of the High Street Scheme, which is a great opportunity for people to support the jobs of friends and families who work in the hospitality industry while enjoying some of the best food and drink in the world.
âI urge our members to download the digital materials and use them to promote Spend Local cards on social media. It is essential that we maximize the benefits of the program so that we can all support our local hotel businesses and struggling shopping streets. “
Northern Ireland Hotels Federation Managing Director Janice Gault welcomed the introduction of the program and described the local tourism industry as a key driver of Northern Ireland’s economy.
She said: âThe High Street Support Scheme is great news for our industry as we continue on our way to recovery. My message to our members is to make sure they do everything possible to encourage people to use their Spend Local cards with them, which will boost their business and the economy in general.
âThe first thing to do is download the digital promotional material and share it on social media so the public knows where they can redeem their cards. The program is a great opportunity to give our struggling shopping streets a boost and I encourage the public to take a close look at how they use their cards, so that the maximum benefit is extended as much as possible. “
Meanwhile, the business community and the public are being warned to be on their guard against crooks who attempt to take advantage of the program. The Department will not ask for personal bank details at any time during the program.
Notes to Editors:
1. The Department’s digital suite of promotional materials for qualifying retail, hospitality and service businesses is available for download from nibusinessinfo site
2. The key dates for the deployment of the High Street Scheme
- September 27 to October 25 – The application portal will be open.
- Week starting October 4 – The first installment of cards will be issued to those who have successfully applied for the Spend Local Prepaid Card.
- October 11 – Opening of the telephone service to take charge of applications from people who cannot access or use the online portal.
- October 25 – The High Street Scheme online portal and telephone services closed.
- October 25 – the last qualifying date for those who are 18 to apply for a Spend Local card.
- November 30 – High Street Scheme closes and Spend Local prepaid cards will cease to be valid.
4. From September 27 to October 25, applicants can apply for the Spend Local card through the portal on nidirect.
For verification purposes to reduce the risk of fraud and error, each applicant will be asked to provide:
- disability status;
- national insurance number;
- E-mail adress; and
- phone number.
Applicants will also have the option of including a driver’s license number to enable verification. Once the applicant has completed the registration process, their information will be checked against a number of government databases to verify their identity.
5. Applicants must receive their Spend Local card within 7-10 days of application. When an applicant receives their card, they will need to verify the card through a computerized phone system or text message and make the first payment using a PIN, before they can start using it for contactless payments. .
6. Cards can be used at all participating businesses in Northern Ireland. They cannot be used online or for gambling or certain financial and legal services.
7. The hotline will open on October 11th. The late opening of the phone service was implemented to encourage more people to apply online when the portal opens on September 27 and to avoid using the phone line by leaving it available for those who have not. access or cannot use the Internet.
8. The High Street Scheme Spend Local Prepaid Card may be accepted by stores and businesses that may accept credit and debit cards for payment. It cannot be used to purchase goods or services online.
9. The Department’s Economic Recovery Action Plan is available on the Department’s website.
11. Follow us on Twitter @Economy_NI
12. For media inquiries, contact the press office of the Department of Economics at [email protected]
13. The Executive Information Service manages a service outside opening hours. for media inquiries only between 6 p.m. and 8 a.m. Monday to Friday and weekends and holidays. The permanent press attachÃ© can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.
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