Northern Ireland economy minister Gordon Lyons has announced a £145m scheme that will give everyone aged 18 and over a prepaid card worth £100 to spend on their local high street.
It is planned that the registration process will open to the public this September.
Lyons stated that the new scheme will give a “very welcome boost” to high streets which were hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Furthermore, it will mean up to 1.4 million people will have an extra £100 each to spend on high streets rather than online and help bring customers back through the doors of local retail, hospitality and other sectors.
Aodhán Connolly, director of the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium, said: “This scheme will give a welcome boost to high street retailers and other consumer-facing sectors in towns and cities in Northern Ireland.
“It will create a virtuous circle of spending that supports our economy, boosts local commerce and gives our shoppers some retail and hospitality therapy. We would encourage everyone who is eligible to register for the scheme and make every penny count.”
Roger Pollen, head of the Federation of small Businesses (FSB) NI, added: “This scheme is a key element in reinvigorating our retail and hospitality sectors after more than a year of crippling restrictions and downturn. What is particularly important is the simplicity of its operation and the widespread distribution.
“We would urge users of the scheme to consider those businesses that have been most impacted by the pandemic and use their prepaid card where it can spread the most benefit.”