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NI high street voucher: Department confirms £13m spent using Spend Local card as 1.43 million people apply


Economy Minister Gordon Lyons

Economy Minister Gordon Lyons

Economy Minister Gordon Lyons

More than 1.43 million applications have been submitted to Northern Ireland’s high street voucher scheme as £13 million has been spent through the cards, the Department for the Economy announced.

The figures come as applications to receive the £100 pre-paid card closed at midnight on Monday.

The department said over 650,000 of the cards have been issued to people and said the local economy has already benefited to the tune of over £13 million.

The Spend Local card can be used in ‘bricks and mortar’ businesses across Northern Ireland up until November 30.

On Monday there was concern that some people had still not heard anything back after applying and had not yet received their cards.

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A department spokesperson said it is hoped the “vast majority” of the outstanding cards will be issued within the next week and the department was doing all it could to ensure people had four weeks to spend the money.

Minister Gordon Lyons said they had expected demand for the card would be high and said the numbers applying was on track for what they had estimated.

“I am delighted that we have received over 1.43m applications and have already issued over 667,000 Spend Local cards,” he said.

“Already over £13m has been poured back into our economy. When the scheme is completed, we will see a significant boost to our economy, especially the retail, hospitality and service sectors which have been so adversely impacted by the pandemic.

“We have also verified over 1.2m applications. This means that those who have yet to receive their card should do so in the near future.

“My department is now working very hard to ensure that we verify the remaining applications as soon as possible.

“As more and more people receive their cards, I would urge them to activate it as soon as they get it and then spend every last penny on it. Remember to spend it local.”

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