Advice NI calls for High Street Scheme Vouchers to be gifted to those in need

Northern Ireland’s largest advice charity, Advice NI, is calling for people in Northern Ireland who do not need the proposed High Street Scheme £100 voucher to gift the money to local charities who work with vulnerable people

The scheme is set to give everyone in Northern Ireland over the age of 18 a pre-paid voucher of £100 for use across high street retailers and hospitality. The aim is to encourage consumers back to their local high street and small businesses in order to boost those hit by Covid-hit.

CEO of Advice NI, Bob Stronge, said: “We know that there are people out there who will be affected by furlough ending, Universal Credit cuts and fuel price hikes and who are in real need. We appreciate that this £100 voucher will be a lifeline to help these people buy essentials such as food and heating fuel.

“It is clear from my soundings that there are people in Northern Ireland who do not need this extra money and would be more than happy to gift some or a portion of their vouchers. As far as I can see the best way to do this is to get in touch with the charity you wish to help and ask them what they need. You can then purchase those items and donate them directly to the charity.

“If you choose to spend your voucher in a local food store, maybe buy a few extra items and donate them to a food bank. You might also want to consider helping a local family or someone you know who is struggling to make ends meet.”

Mr Stronge also questioned the logic of the scheme saying “Given the acute social and economic challenges facing us, the voucher scheme money could have been directed to those most in need leaving a legacy rather than a short-term stimulus. It will no doubt be helpful to local businesses and I am sure that for many people it will be welcome, but in my view it will have a rather limited economic effect.”

For more information on Advice NI and its services visit www.adviceni.net.

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