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Use it or lose it: Gordon Lyons urges everyone to cash in on £100 Spend Local card before Sunday

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Economy Minister Gordon Lyons is calling on everyone to spend their £100 Spend Local card before Sunday's deadline.

Economy Minister Gordon Lyons is calling on everyone to spend their £100 Spend Local card before Sunday's deadline.

Economy Minister Gordon Lyons is calling on everyone to spend their £100 Spend Local card before Sunday's deadline.

Economy Minister Gordon Lyons has encouraged everyone to spend their £100 Spend Local cards, with just two days left until the High Street Scheme closes.

The scheme, which opened on September 27, will close at midnight on Sunday when the cards will no longer be valid.

With over £131m already injected into the Northern Ireland economy through the Spend Local cards, the positive impact has been felt widely across the business community following the devastation of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Northern Ireland Retail Consortium and Ulster Bank have credited an increase in retail sales to the scheme.

The Department for the Economy (DfE) said there is a small proportion of cards sent in the closing days of the scheme which may still be in the postal system.

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These applications included errors or were from those who did not respond to requests for information in the scheme’s application and verification time period.

The department said it is closely monitoring those cards and will ensure applicants do not miss out due to postal delays, and after the scheme closes, the DfE will listen to the various issues people have faced and look at “options for remedy”.

Mr Lyons said the majority of those who have received their cards have spent the £100 gift, but most of those still to spend the full amount are mostly young people.

“If you're 18 to 34 and still have your £100 what are you going to spend it on this weekend?” asked the Economy Minister. “Make sure you get out there and use it, or you'll lose it.

“If you still haven’t used your Spend Local card, do it today. If you have any balance remaining on your card – no matter how small – go out and buy a newspaper, a coffee, a Christmas card, or whatever you want, but please spend your card to the limit today.

“And if you wanted to add some of your own money to make a bigger purchase, all the better.”

Mr Lyons said he was delighted to say the scheme has been a success in supporting the retail, hospitality and service sectors.

Businesses across Northern Ireland welcomed the scheme and also urged the public to use their card in full before the closing date.

Belfast city centre’s Fine Tailoring by Red’s Managing Director, Jamesy McCreesh, said the scheme was a “great idea”.

“Anything that gives a boost to small independent businesses is welcomed and it’s a scheme that has brought much needed funds back into the local economy and helped small businesses within Belfast city centre,” he stated.

Danni Simpson, owner of Danni Simpson Art, said the scheme has given everyone the opportunity to support independent small businesses.

Mr Lyons concluded: “I have always said that the best way to support those businesses which were hit hardest by the pandemic is to spend every penny on every card.

“So as we reach the last weekend of the scheme, I want to thank everyone who has already used their Spend Local card.

“And to those who still have to use all of their card, time has nearly run out. So, please, spend it now, spend it all and spend it local.”


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