Northern Ireland’s retail, hospitality and service sectors need your support to help them recover from the impact of the pandemic. That’s why anyone who hasn’t applied for their Spend Local card should do so now.
Economy Minister Gordon Lyons with Alistair Robinson, owner of Cycleology bicycle store.
This was the key message from Economy Minister Gordon Lyons when he visited a number of businesses in Armagh to hear how the High Street Scheme is benefiting them.
The minister said:
“There are only a few days left before the application portal closes at midnight on October 25. I urge anyone who is eligible but has not yet applied for their Spend Local card to do so today. We are still in the early stages of this program but to date over £ 5.6million has been pumped into our economy and the economic benefits are starting to be felt.
“It was great to come to Armagh to meet with retailers and restaurateurs today and it was reassuring to hear that they are starting to see how the High Street Scheme will help them. If you haven’t applied for your card, do so today. If you received your card then Spend Local. You will be helping thousands of businesses across Northern Ireland, just like those in Armagh. “
The Minister met with John Murray, the owner of the local restaurant Embers, who said:
“We are seeing more and more people entering the restaurant with their Spend Local card. There is a lot of enthusiasm for the cards. They’ve been a topic of conversation among diners for several weeks now and I think people are really excited to come out and use them.
“It has been a very difficult time for the hospitality industry, and anything designed to attract more people to our inner cities is something to salute. “
Alistair Robinson, owner of Cycleology bike store, said:
“We have already had quite a few people who have come to use their cards. They either use the card to switch to a bike they have in mind, or they spend the £ 100 on treating their children.
“The program is certainly welcome, and I hope it will help attract more people, give a boost to local businesses. It is an added bonus that the program allows more people to ride a bicycle and the health benefits of regular cycling bring. “
Uluru Bar and Grill restaurateur Gavin Emerson said:
“You can see that the more people get the card, the more it’s used in the restaurant. We have worked hard to develop additional incentives for people to use the card with us as it is important to everyone at Uluru that we can give our customers that little extra.
“It has been a difficult time for a lot of people, and I hope the cards can encourage more people to come back to the city center so that they can enjoy the wonderful hospitality we have here in Armagh.”
The Minister also met with Jim Clarke, owner of Clarke Decorate. He said:
“After the first lockdown, many people came online for their purchases, so any program that helps rejuvenate and bring people back to our main streets should be welcome.
“We have had a number of people using their Spend Local cards with us. If someone is decorating a few rooms at home, then £ 100 is a good sweetener when it comes to the bill.
Notes to Editors:
1. The online portal will close at midnight on October 25th. The telephone service will close at 6 p.m. the same day.
2. Applicants can register for the Spend Local card at nidirect.
3. Key dates for the deployment of the High Street Scheme:
- September 27 to October 25 – Opening of the application portal.
- Week starting October 4 – First installment of cards 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. For verification purposes to reduce the risk of fraud and error, each applicant will be asked to provide:
National insurance number;
e-mail address; and
5. 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.
6. The Ministry is required under section 75 to monitor the implementation of its policies, including the collection of data on age, gender and disability.
7. 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 code, before they can start using it for payments. without contact.
8. 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.
9. The helpline opened on October 11. 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.
10. The Ministry’s economic recovery action plan is available on the DfE website.
12. Follow us on Twitter @Economy_NI
13. For media inquiries, contact the press office of the Department of Economics at [email protected]
14. 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 attaché can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.
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