Spend local cards: People who missed out on money to get direct payments

People who missed out on Stormont’s high street vouchers through no fault of their own are to get the money through a direct payment to their bank.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 26th January 2022, 12:19 pm
Updated Wednesday, 26th January 2022, 12:24 pm
Economy Minister Gordon Lyons
Economy Minister Gordon Lyons

Economy Minister Gordon Lyons has outlined the plan to compensate those who were unable to avail of the £100 spend local card.

All householders across Northern Ireland were eligible for a pre-paid card to spend in local shops under one of Stormont’s flagship post-Covid economic stimulus policies.

More than 1.4 million pre-paid spend local cards were sent out, resulting in a £136 million spend in the economy.

Sign up to our public interest bulletins - get the latest news on the Coronavirus

Despite the deadline to use the cards being extended a number of times late last year, some people were not been able to spend the money, because of issues including postage delivery failures, technical problems in activating the cards or administrative mistakes by the Economy Department.

Giving evidence to his scrutiny committee at Stormont, Mr Lyons said he recognised the frustrations encountered by those people.

“It’s not possible for us to reopen the card scheme to print more cards and everything else, that won’t be possible,” he said.

“So what we will be looking at instead is a direct payment through the Bacs system payment, so that people can be compensated in that way.

“And I hope that they will use what they receive for the purpose that was intended, that they will go out and support those local businesses.”

Mr Lyons insisted the overall scheme was a success.

“We do need to recognise that the scheme was a huge success,” he told MLAs.

“And speaking to businesses and individuals right across Northern Ireland it has been welcomed and I think that it’s right that that is recognised.

“I know some people tried to argue the point that this in some way simply just replaced Christmas spend.

“That wasn’t the case because when I speak to businesses they said that they were busier than they have been in many, many years.”

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

With the coronavirus lockdowns having had a major impact on many of our advertisers — and consequently the revenue we receive — we are more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription.

Subscribe to newsletter.co.uk and enjoy unlimited access to the best Northern Ireland and UK news and information online and on our app. With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content.

Visit

https://www.newsletter.co.uk/subscriptions

now to sign up.

Our journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them. By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.

Ben Lowry, Editor