£100 High Street voucher scheme NI : New deadline for additional documentation confirmed

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All documentation for the manual verification process for the High Street Scheme must now be provided by midnight on Friday 12 November, Economy Minister Gordon Lyons has said.

The Minister confirmed the new deadline as he revealed over £42million has been spent using Spend Local cards to date.

The 12 November deadline relates only to cases where applications have been unable to be automatically verified against Government databases. Further information has already been requested from these individuals to confirm they live in Northern Ireland and are over 18-years-old.

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Minister Lyons said: “The High Street Scheme is a time-limited intervention and, while I have extended the deadline to use the Spend Local card to 14 December, there is a need for applications to be verified by a certain point in order for the cards to be used.

People in Derry city centre. (File picture)  Photo: George Sweeney  DER2047GS - 004People in Derry city centre. (File picture)  Photo: George Sweeney  DER2047GS - 004
People in Derry city centre. (File picture) Photo: George Sweeney DER2047GS - 004

“I would urge anyone asked to supply additional documents to ensure they do so by the deadline of 12 November.

“My Department is already taking a flexible and pragmatic approach when considering the information applicants have provided to confirm they are eligible for a Spend Local card.

“To date, 94% of applications from people who have provided the additional information requested have now been verified.”

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The Minister continued: “In the closing period of the manual verification we can expect applicants who have struggled to provide the necessary documentation to reach out to MLAs and MPs for their support.

“I have written to all MLAs and MPs to say that if their constituency offices are able to provide assurances on behalf of an applicant that they are eligible for the scheme, these applications can be manually verified by the Department.

“I want to ensure as many Spend Local cards as possible can be put into the Northern Ireland economy to support local businesses.”

Minister Lyons has also welcomed new data on footfall at retail locations compiled by the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium (NIRC) and insights firm Sensormatic IQ.

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He said: “I was very pleased to see these figures which shows that footfall at retail locations has significantly improved from September.

“This shows that the High Street Scheme is having the intended effect. I would like to thank retailers for their support in promoting the Spend Local card. I also want to thank the public for the support they are giving to their local high streets.

“For anyone who has any balance left on their card, no matter how small, my message is: please go out and spend it locally.”

Where MLA and MP constituency offices are receiving enquiries or drop-ins from applicants that have (a) made a genuine attempt to provide information, (b) there is a clear link between the application and the documents provided and (c) a reasonable level of confidence that the person is eligible, staff can send these details to the Department.

Guidance on the verification evidence required and information on the trusted partners for the scheme is available at www.economy-ni.gov.uk/high-street-scheme-frequently-asked-questions

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