The Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) has welcomed Glasgow City Council’s plans for a £9m shoppers stimulus package.
It aims to benefit 85,000 households this summer with a £105 voucher or gift card.
David Lonsdale, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC), said: “This is a bold and imaginative plan to help less well-off households and give a much-needed boost to the town’s economy. on consumers.
“Stores will only survive with public patronage and questions remain over how demand will look for the rest of the year given the cost of living crisis – this program should boost retail in the city and could even trigger additional spending by shoppers beyond the value of the voucher transaction, creating an even larger economic multiplier.
Retail in Scotland has been hit hard by the pandemic, with slow retail sales growth, high store vacancy figures and customer footfall still well below pre-pandemic levels.
Glasgow shopper footfall in May was 12% lower than the comparable pre-Covid period, for example.
The SRC said a retail voucher or high street stimulus scheme should be considered elsewhere in Scotland, as a way to kick-start consumer spending and transactions.
Northern Ireland and Jersey both introduced such schemes in the second half of last year to boost their economies emerging from the coronavirus crisis.
Glasgow’s new cards can be used at registered businesses across the city, with over 700 businesses of all sizes registered to date and nearly 400 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the process of being registered.
The council received £9.45million from the Scottish Government for the project – from the Scotland Loves Local campaign – with that funding coming from the £80million Covid Recovery Fund.
Of this, £8.85 million will be used directly to allocate the gift cards, including £423,110 to be used as discretionary funding by the council to support groups also affected by the current cost of living crisis. The rest of the funding will be used to cover the administrative costs of the program.
The Scotland Loves Local campaign aims to encourage Scots to think local first and support businesses in their local high streets.
Data from the City Tax System will now be used to identify Glasgow households eligible for the City Tax Reduction (CTR), which in turn will be used to identify households that would be eligible to receive a prepaid gift card.
The Covid Low-Income Gift Cards will be administered by Miconex, the delivery partners of Scotland’s Towns Partnership. The cards are expected to be sent directly to eligible households throughout July.
To reduce the risk of theft, cards will need to be activated. The authentication process will see the card recipient be asked to enter their local Scotland Loves Gift Card and National Insurance numbers on a dedicated website, and if the numbers match the record held, the balance will be uploaded immediately.
Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “The gift cards will give businesses in the city a much-needed boost after two years of the pandemic and the resulting impact on trade, but they also allow us to support tens of thousands of low-income households and individuals with practical assistance, which we hope can make a positive difference for them during the worst cost of living crisis in decades.
“As the number of businesses enrolled in the program continues to grow, we are still encouraging as many as possible – especially small and medium-sized businesses – to enroll.”
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