Northern Ireland to pay people to shop in September
As the UK works to encourage consumers back into physical stores, retailers are trying lots of different ideas to spur the desire to go shopping again. And local and national governments are getting involved too. The latest initiative sees adults in Northern Ireland being given shopping vouchers as part of a £145 million investment to attract people back to high streets.
Just like the UK’s ‘eat out to help out’ scheme last year, which gave people £10 off a meal in a restaurant, pub or café, the thinking is that financial inducements will get consumers out there and spending money.
Gordon Lyons, Northern Ireland’s economy minister, said everyone aged 18+ will be able to get a pre-paid card to spend in local shops and restaurants, the Guardian reported.
It will mean as many as 1.4 million people being given £100 each to spend in physical locations rather than online. Lyons added that the uplift is what local businesses need and deserve.
Retail NI, the Northern Ireland trade body, called the scheme a “win-win for members and our high streets”.
The scheme starts in September and echoes the “stimulus” payments that have also been seen in the US, Malta and Jersey.
Think-tank the Resolution Foundation has been calling for a such a scheme across the UK for some months and the British Independent Retailers Association has backed that call. But UK chancellor Rishi Sunak is faced with a massive debt after more than a year of spending on Covid measures and seems to think there’s enough fuel in the wider UK economy to get shoppers spending without the need to give them cash.
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