Every Derry adult will be eligible for pre-paid £100 High Street card to boost 'bricks and mortar' businesses

Every adult in Derry will be able to apply for a state-sponsored pre-paid card to the value of a £100 as part of a stimulus package to boost the High Street and local traders.

Friday, 30th April 2021, 10:21 am

The Economy Minister Diane Dodds revealed further details on the High Street Stimulus (HSS) and Holiday at Home Voucher schemes today as retail outlets reopened for the first time in months.

She said the HSS scheme – which is a vital part of the Economic Recovery Action Plan - is designed to stimulate local businesses, including retail and hospitality sector outlets, following the pandemic.

The Minister revealed that eligible individuals aged 18 and over will be asked to apply for the pre-paid card through a dedicated online portal.

The scheme is expected to open at the end of the summer.

The cards can only be used in ‘bricks and mortar’ businesses and not only. It's expected the HSS scheme will open at the end of the summer.

The Minister said: “Today is a day for looking forward. The re-opening of retail outlets alongside outdoor hospitality, self-contained tourism accommodation, swimming pools and gyms under the latest Coronavirus guidelines is another significant milestone as we move out of lockdown.

“I am excited to see shoppers back in our high streets, customers once again enjoying outdoor hospitality and the return of holidaymakers to self-contained accommodation. I am optimistic because reopening of our economy is the most important first step towards economic recovery.

“However, our High Street Stimulus scheme will provide a timely boost to this recovery. It will provide eligible applicants with a pre-paid card worth £100. This means up to 1.4 million people will spend an extra £140m on our high streets rather than online. This has a multiplier effect which will help bring many more customers back through the doors of local retail, hospitality and other sectors."

She said the Executive has commissioned research into when the HSS would be most beneficial to our economic recovery.

"We expect there will be pent up demand following the easing of restrictions. Therefore we believe that the end of the summer is the appropriate time to deliver this spending boost.”

The Minister also revealed details of the Holiday at Home Voucher Scheme which will allow Northern Ireland households to claim back 50% off a stay of two nights or more in certified accommodation, up to the value of £100.

Vouchers will also be issued, offering 50% off visits to attractions or tourism experience providers, up to the value of £20.

Vouchers will be allocated on a first come first served basis and each household can apply for one of each type of voucher. Households can then claim their voucher money back by uploading their receipt and voucher details online. The scheme will be launched in the autumn to drive demand after the summer season.