£8m to spend in local stores
GLASGOW residents on lower incomes will be given money to spend in local stores, in a bid to support the city’s economy.
Approved on 22 June, the Covid Low-Income Gift Cards scheme will see Glasgow City Council distribute gift cards worth £105 to around 85,000 low-income households.
Operating through the Scotland Loves Local gift card scheme, the cards can be used in registered businesses in Glasgow.
More than 700 businesses were registered across the city as Scottish Grocer went to press, and Glasgow City Council said almost 400 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) were in the process of registering.
Funding for the stimulus scheme comes from the Scotland Loves Local campaign – which is in turn funded by the Scottish Government’s £80m Covid Recovery Fund.
Glasgow City Council was given £9.456m for the scheme, with £8.85m expected to be directly allocated to gift cards.
Covid Low-Income Gift Cards will be administered by Miconex, the delivery partners for the Scotland Loves Local Gift Card. It is expected that the cards will be sent out directly to eligible households throughout July
With its stimulus scheme, Glasgow is following in the footsteps of Northern Ireland and Jersey, which both introduced voucher schemes in the second half of 2021 to support economic recovery.
The Scottish Retail Consortium has consistently called for a similar scheme to be introduced in Scotland and director David Lonsdale welcomed Glasgow City Council’s decision.
Lonsdale described the scheme as “bold and imaginative” and said it would support “less well-off households” and “give a much needed shot in the arm to the city’s consumer-facing economy.”
“It has been a difficult two years for retail destinations which have been left reeling by the impact of the pandemic, associated government restrictions and economic uncertainty.
“Shops will only survive with the patronage of the public and questions remain over what demand will look like for the remainder of the year given the cost of living crunch.
“This shopper stimulus scheme should boost retail in the city and may even trigger additional spending by shoppers beyond the value of the voucher transaction, creating an even larger economic multiplier,” he said.
Councillor Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “The gift cards will give city businesses a much-needed lift following 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, something we hope can make a positive difference to them during the worst cost-of-living crisis in decades.
“While the number of businesses signed up to the scheme continues to grow, we’re still encouraging as many as possible – especially small and medium-sized companies – to sign up.