Northern Ireland high street shop voucher success as almost all adults apply for one

News Letter editorial of Monday October 25 2021:

By Editorial
Monday, 25th October 2021, 10:59 am
Updated Monday, 25th October 2021, 11:02 am
News Letter editorial
News Letter editorial

Northern Ireland recently launched a high street voucher scheme.

The vouchers are open to everyone over the age of 18, and come in the form of a £100 pre-paid card to spend.

Applications for the scheme, which seeks to support local business, end today.

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There will then be several more weeks in which it can be spent, giving the high street a pre Christmas boost.

The vouchers have already been an astonishing success, with more than 1.4 million applicants in a society which has around 1.45 million adults.

That is a remarkable level of penetration, given that there will always be some people who are not organised enough to apply, or who feel little need to do so.

The scheme is not without its critics.

Some observers think that it is not necessary and that spending is rebounding sharply in any event.

Others say that there is a real danger of inflation as pent-up demand leads to an explosion of expenditure, and that vouchers will only make that worse.

But a political decision has been made to issue these cards and people have been right to make the most of them.

Part of the thinking behind the project is that some people who have £100 to spend will then embark on shopping sprees that they might not otherwise have begun, which will cause them to purchase several hundreds of pounds worth of goods.

While many people spent lockdown in jobs (often funded by taxpayers) where their income did not drop at all, retailers — particularly small ones — are among the sections of society who suffered the most.

It is very good to think of businesses, which are the lifeblood of our economy, now enjoying some much needed financial stimulation.

If you have not applied, you can still do so by midnight, and will then have until November 30 to spend it.

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