Glasgow City Council to issue £105 gift cards to 85,000 households
Glasgow City Council has approved the roll-out of Covid Low-Income Gift Cards worth £105 to around 85,000 low-income households in the city.
These cards can be used in registered businesses in Glasgow, with more than 700 businesses of all sizes registered across the city so far, and almost 400 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the process of registering.
The council was given £9.456million by the Scottish Government for this project - from the Scotland Loves Local campaign - with this funding coming from the Scottish Government’s £80million Covid Recovery Fund.
The funding will be directly used to allocate the gift cards, with £423,110 to be used as discretionary funding by the council to support groups also impacted by the current cost of living crisis. The remainder of the funding will be used to cover the administrative costs of the scheme.
There are 780 businesses in Glasgow currently registered to accept the gift cards, and the council is working to encourage more to register and benefit from the scheme.
The Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) has praised the council’s action. It stressed that retail in Scotland has been thwacked hard by the impact of Covid. Retail sales growth is tepid, store vacancies remain elevated, and shopper footfall is still well below pre-pandemic levels. Glasgow’s shopper footfall in May was 12% lower than the comparable period prior to Covid.
The SRC believes that a retail voucher or high street stimulus scheme should be considered for elsewhere in Scotland, as a means of re-igniting consumer spending and transactions. Northern Ireland and Jersey introduced voucher schemes in the second half of last year to pep up their economies emerging from Covid.
David Lonsdale, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said: “This is a bold and imaginative plan from Glasgow city council to help 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.”