New research shows an increase in the number of shoppers on the shopping streets of Northern Ireland, as the final countdown to the end of the highly successful High Street program begins.
Minister of Economy Gordon Lyons
The program will end in 11 days on December 14, and the public is urged by Economy Minister Gordon Lyons to spend whatever is left on their Spend Local cards as soon as possible.
Already more than £ 107million has been spent by cardholders across Northern Ireland in the retail, hospitality and service sectors.
Minister Lyons today welcomed new figures released by the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium (NIRC) which show that the increase in the number of people entering stores or businesses in October continues into November after the introduction of the High Street Scheme. The NIRC said that “the High Street Scheme really proves its worth”.
NIRC data shows that in November, the number of buyers in Northern Ireland reached its highest level so far compared to pre-pandemic levels. This led Northern Ireland to post the best recovery in the UK with -5.2% compared to 2019 figures.
The equivalent figures for England, Wales and Scotland were -15.7%, -16.7% and -19.8% respectively.
Minister Lyons said:
“The aim of the High Street Scheme has been to stimulate local businesses, including retail, hospitality and service sector outlets, which have been hit hardest during the pandemic, so I am delighted to see this research published by the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium.
“I once again urge anyone who has not yet activated or used their Spend Local card to do so now. We want to see every penny possible on every £ 100 card spent. Spend it now, spend it all, and spend it locally.
Aodhán Connolly, Director of the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium, said:
“The High Street Card program is really proving its value with a phenomenal rebound in attendance across Northern Ireland. This is great news for retailers who have experienced the two most difficult years on record. “
The minister also encouraged everyone to shop safely by wearing a face covering, maintaining social distancing and using contactless payment where possible.
Cardholders can check their balance, view transaction history, terms and conditions or find answers to frequently asked questions about cards by visiting DfE Spend Local page.
When an applicant receives their card, they must activate it through a computerized phone system or text message and make the first payment using a PIN code, before they can start using it for contactless payments. .
Notes to Editors:
1. Full details of the NIRC research are available on its website.
2. The High Street Scheme ends on December 14 when Spend Local prepaid cards cease to be valid.
3. The Ministry is required under section 75 to monitor the implementation of its policies, including the collection of data on age, gender and disability.
4. When an applicant receives their card, they must activate it through a computerized telephone system or text message and make the first payment using a PIN code, before they can start using it for payments. without contact.
5. Cards can be used at all participating businesses in Northern Ireland. They cannot be used online or for gambling or certain financial and legal services.
6. The helpline opened on October 11th. The late opening of the phone service was implemented to encourage more people to apply online when the portal opened on September 27 and to avoid using the phone line by leaving it available for those who did not. access or could not use the internet. . It closed at 6 p.m. on October 25.
7. The Ministry’s Economic Recovery Action Plan is available on the Ministry’s PIU page.
9. To keep up to date with Department news, you can follow us on the following social networks:
- Twitter – @Economy_NI
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10. For media inquiries, contact the Press Office of the Department of Economics at [email protected]
11. The Executive Information Service manages a service outside opening hours. for media inquiries only between 6 p.m. and 8 a.m. Monday to Friday and weekends and holidays. The permanent press attaché can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.
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