SCOTLAND’S largest council is expected to approve the roll-out of Covid Low-Income Gift Cards 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 boost to both familes and a knock on effect for businesses is set to be approved by councillors tomorrow.
Glasgow City 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.
£8.85million 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.
Councillor Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “The gift cards will give city businesses a much-needed lift following two years of the pandemic and the resulting impact on trade. But they also allow us to support tens of thousands of low-income households and individuals with practical assistance, something we hope can make a positive difference to them during the worst cost-of-living crisis in decades.
“While the number of businesses signed up to the scheme continues to grow, we’re still encouraging as many as possible – especially small and medium-sized companies – to sign up. We want local high streets across every one of Glasgow’s communities to benefit from this measure.”
The Scotland Loves Local campaign looks to encourage people in Scotland to think local first and support businesses on their local high streets.
Data from the council tax system will now be used to identify Glasgow households entitled to Council Tax Reduction (CTR), which in turn will be used to identify which households would be eligible to receive a pre-paid gift card.
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 Covid Low-Income Gift Cards will be administered by Miconex, the delivery partners for Scotland’s Towns Partnership. It is expected that the cards will be sent out directly to eligible households throughout July – there will be no need for an application process.
To reduce the risk of theft, the cards will require activation. The authentication process will see the card recipient being asked to enter their Scotland Loves Local Gift Card and National Insurance numbers on a dedicated website, and if the numbers match the record held, the balance will be immediately uploaded.
The gift card roll out announcement comes just a day after another Scottish council unveiled a £5 million support package to help local people with the cost-of-living crisis.
Councillors in West Dunbartonshire will be asked to approve the multimillion-pound fund to help struggling residents with rising energy prices.
The local authority, which is now in the hands of Scottish Labour after the party secured 12 seats in the council elections on May 5, is also proposing to scrap residential care charges.
This would save around £1 million for vulnerable residents.
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