Shoppers who missed out on Spend Local scheme in line for payments
Economy Minister Gordon Lyons has provided an update on remedy measures for the small number of verified applicants who did not receive their High Street card before the scheme ended or who had difficulty using their card.
The Minister said: “The High Street Scheme has been hugely successful. Over 1.4 million pre-paid £100 Spend Local cards were dispatched delivering a much-needed boost – in the region of £136.5million – to the local economy.
“The scheme received a lot of positive feedback from a wide variety of businesses and organisations across all parts of Northern Ireland.
“According to an Ulster Bank Survey, retail sales in Northern Ireland rose in November for the first time in four months. Its Chief Economist Richard Ramsey said the scheme undoubtedly contributed to the pick-up in demand.
“A report from the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium (NIRC) showed that Northern Ireland’s footfall in November increased by 5.6 percentage points on the previous month. Northern Ireland’s shop visits were 10 percentage points higher than the UK average.
“While the vast majority of verified applicants received their cards before the scheme ended, a small proportion did not receive cards while others encountered difficulty using their card. I believe it is important that we address this issue and that is the reason we have devised these remedy measures.”
The applicants eligible for a potential remedy payment will be:
- Verified applicants who did not receive a Spend Local card or who received their card after the scheme closed due to service failure.
- Verified applicants who had issues activating/using their cards which were outside of their control and have a remaining balance of £10 or more.
- Eligible applicants who did not receive a Spend Local Card as a result of maladministration or service failure by the Department.
For those that are eligible, a remedy payment, equal to the balance on the card will be made via a BACs payment. The cost of remedy payments is estimated to be in the region of £1 million- £1.5 million.
The Minister added:“My officials are currently working on the details of the remedy scheme and its timeframe and I will provide further details in due course.”
Welcoming the announcement, Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said: “The Spend Local Card has been a success, giving many struggling independent retailers a significant short-term boost. It has contributed to saving jobs, businesses and improving footfall in our High Streets”
“It is right that those applicants who did not receive or could not access their card be recompensed”
“We will be seeking clarification from the Department for the Economy how the remaining £1.5m that is being paid directly in BACs to applicants, will be spent with local businesses.”