'High street stimulus scheme should be introduced in Scotland', says Scottish Retail Consortium

Following Northern Ireland’s announcement of a £145 million high street stimulus, the Scottish Retail Consortium is urging the Scottish Government to introduce a similar scheme in Scotland.

The Scottish Retail Consortium is urging the Scottish Government to introduce a high street stimulus scheme similar to Northern Ireland's to tempt shoppers back onto the streets following the impact of the pandemic (Photo: John Devlin).

The Northern Irish government’s £145 million high street stimulus scheme will come into effect on October 4 and will give £100 to each adult in Northern Ireland to spend on high streets.

The Scottish Retail Consortium has suggested that a similar retail voucher or high street stimulus scheme could play ‘a valuable role’ in enticing shoppers back to the streets of Scotland after the impact of pandemic restrictions.

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The SRC most recently suggested the scheme in their Scottish Budget submission earlier this month as a means of re-igniting consumer spending and transactions.

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During the Holyrood election, the SRC praised the Scottish Labour Party’s proposal for a shopper stimulus scheme, as a means of aiding Scotland’s high streets and stores.

David Lonsdale, Director of the Scottish Retail Consortium said: “The pandemic and the associated government lockdowns and restrictions have weighed on consumer demand. Shopper footfall is down by a fifth, shop vacancies have spiked, and Scottish stores have missed out on £4.5 billion of revenues over the past eighteen months.

"Retailers are playing their part in trying to tempt shoppers, but policy makers here need to think more creatively too about how they can reignite consumer confidence and entice Scots back to our retail destinations.

"This could be through temporary free parking or an advertising campaign to encourage people back to city centres, or a high street voucher scheme like Northern Ireland is introducing.

"A voucher scheme could play a valuable role in enticing shoppers back and getting our economy firing again, triggering additional spending by shoppers beyond the value of the voucher transaction and creating an even larger economic multiplier.”

In response to the SRC, the Scottish Government has said they are rolling out Scotland Love Local loyalty cards later this year to help kick start sales and encourage local spending.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The Scottish Government has provided more than £3.7 billion to help businesses cope with the impact of Covid-19. Our retail strategy, City Centre Recovery Taskforce and the £10 million Scotland Loves Local programme, will help support our town and city centres and local communities recover.”

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