Northern Ireland news

Shoppers who missed out on high street voucher scheme to get remedy payments

The High Street Voucher scheme was launched last year by Economy Minister Gordon Lyons. Picture by Department for the Economy/PA Wire
Rebecca Black, PA

Remedy payments are to be made to people who missed out through no fault of their own on the high street voucher scheme.

All householders across Northern Ireland were eligible for a pre-paid card to spend in local shops under one of Stormont’s flagship post-Covid economic stimulus policies.

More than 1.4 million pre-paid spend local cards were sent out, resulting in a £136 million spend in the economy.

However, despite the deadline to use the cards being extended a number of times late last year, some people were not been able to spend the money, because of issues including postage delivery failures, technical problems in activating the cards or administrative mistakes by the Economy Department.

The remedy payments are expected to be made in late March/early April 2022.

The department said it has issued about 22,500 emails to verified applicants who may be eligible for a remedy payment.

These include people whose application was verified but did not receive a card, those whose cards could not be activated, those who could not spend the full amount and those not verified due to a service failure on the part of the department.

In a statement, the department said the emails will be issued from the email address noreply@spendlocalni.com.

“The email will contain the name of those who may be eligible for a remedy payment along with a list of frequently asked questions,” the department said.

“The email, which will contain the name of the person potentially eligible for the remedy payment, will be sent to the email address provided on the original application.

“In some cases, this will be a person who applied on behalf of someone else and it is important that the person receiving the email lets the eligible applicant know.

“A letter will be sent to those who applied via the telephone service, but did not supply an email address giving details on how to apply for a remedy payment.

“The department will not be asking for personal details and no further action is required at this stage. A further email will issue in mid-March providing details on how to apply for payment and containing a link to the remedy application portal.

“Depending on the settings of a person’s email account, it is possible these emails may be filtered into a junk/spam folder, so people are asked to check these folders regularly.

“Anyone who qualifies for a remedy payment will receive an amount equal to the balance on the Spend Local card when the scheme closed.”

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