Nicola Sturgeon considers giving Scots £100 shopping vouchers to help retailers

Nicola Sturgeon has announced that a scheme to hand out shopping vouchers to help retailers is something the government is ‘considering’.

Nicola Sturgeon said she was 'considering' a voucher scheme to help businesses.
Nicola Sturgeon said she was 'considering' a voucher scheme to help businesses.

The news comes as the Northern Irish Government recently revealed plans to roll out a voucher scheme early in the new year, with qualifying people to be given between £75 and £100 to spend in shops – but not online.

An industry leader said it is “encouraging” ministers are considering their calls for a voucher scheme – which they believe could help retailers in the post-Christmas period, when sales can drop.

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Responding to a question at the daily coronavirus briefing on whether Scotland will introduce a similar scheme, the First Minister said it was something being considered.

Ms Sturgeon said: “We are looking at that, and considering that.

"We recognise with all of these things there is an importance of acting quickly just now, so I can't give you a date for when we’ll make that decision but it's something that is under consideration.

“I can't give you a definite answer to the question today, but hopefully we'll say more about that before too long.”

Many shops across Scotland have had to close their doors as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.However, Scottish Retail Consortium director David Lonsdale said a voucher scheme such as this in Scotland could give a “much-needed shot in the arm” to shops and other businesses.

He spoke after Ms Sturgeon confirmed the Scottish Government is “looking at that and considering that”.Mr Lonsdale said: “It is encouraging that Scottish ministers appear to have listened and are responding positively to our calls to consider the potential for a high street voucher scheme.“The retail industry and our high streets are facing profound challenges at the current time due to a combination of factors including pandemic-induced restrictions and economic downturn, which have weighed on consumer demand.“If a voucher along the lines envisaged for Northern Ireland is introduced here it could put money into people’s pockets and help get the Scottish economy moving again, giving a much-needed shot in the arm to shops and other consumer-facing firms like eateries in the leaner months early in the New Year.”

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