More than 160,000 prepaid cards under Northern Ireland’s high street voucher scheme have been issued
Gordon Lyons said that as of Monday, 161,000 had been delivered with another 50,000 ready to be shipped.
Speaking during question time in the Assembly, Mr Lyons also confirmed that he had personally received his own card to spend.
“I have no special privileges but I have been able to get my spend local card, it is a little bit smaller than the one that I was going around with earlier in the summer time,” he told MLAs.
“It’s great that we’re going to have these cards delivered right across Northern Ireland to be spent in local independent retailers, and in hospitality, and in entertainment and leisure and other services.”
High Street Stimulus Scheme will see all those aged over 18 eligible for a £100 pre-paid card to spend, aimed at supporting local businesses which have been devastated by Covid.
Mr Lyons said in all over 1.2 million applications have been received, and one million have so far been verified.
He added: “I think that’s good news for businesses right across Northern Ireland that suffered so much during the lockdown.”
Responding to a question from SDLP MLA Patsy McGlone around faults in some cards, Mr Lyons said he hoped they had ironed out a glitch.
“There has been a number of very isolated incidents of people not being able to use their card due to the business, they’re largely larger multi-nationals who are registered in GB and there has been a coding issue with the card, however that has been a very small number and we have found a fix to that,” he said.