Businesses are urged to sign up as Scottish Government-backed scheme to keep spending local for longer is promoted across every region of Scotland.

Every community in Scotland could soon have its own gift card in a milestone move encouraging everyone to support local businesses.

The Scottish Government is backing the rollout of the new Scotland Loves Local Gift Card as part of efforts to power the national economic fightback from the Covid-19 pandemic from its grassroots - encouraging people to Choose Local.

The significant show of support for local businesses is being delivered by Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP) - the organisation spearheading the Scotland Loves Local Campaign. The Gift Card scheme is a partnership with Perth-based fintech specialist Miconex.

It will see the creation of gift cards for each of Scotland’s 32 local authority areas, each of which can only be spent in that specific region.

Community Wealth Minister Tom Arthur today urged businesses across the country to sign up to be part of it.

He said: “We are delighted to be backing this innovative scheme as part of our pledge to support local businesses and communities within the first 100 days of government.

“The Gift Card is a quick and efficient way to encourage spend and drive sales growth in our local economies. Thanks to Scottish Government funding, this is the first of its kind on a national scale and I look forward to seeing businesses benefit from the opportunities it presents.

“In the coming months we will further bolster the Scotland Loves Local (SLL) campaign with the second tranche of our SLL Fund, helping communities revitalise their own towns or neighbourhoods, building wealth and delivering greater, greener and fairer prosperity.”

STP and Miconex are working with local authorities to launch the regional gift cards, with the first year of costs being met by the Scottish Government as part of its £10m of support for Scotland Loves Local. There are no registration costs for businesses. Payments are processed as part of the Mastercard network.

Local cards will be rolled out in a series of regional launches over the coming months, as councils agree to promote the programme in their area.

Supported by the Scottish Government and others, Scotland Loves Local is the campaign urging people to think local first by spending in  businesses and attractions around them - evoking the strong community spirit witnessed at the peak of the coronavirus crisis.

STP Chief Officer Phil Prentice said: “We have never valued local life, the people and businesses around us more. The Scotland Loves Local Gift Card embraces that.

“We can’t wait to see people choosing local and loving local life by using their region’s gift card, whether that be while out shopping, meeting friends for a coffee or meal - or making a day of it and doing it all. This is an ideal way of supporting the brilliant businesses in our communities.

“These gift cards will be a remarkably powerful way of unlocking spending potential - and keeping that money in local communities for longer. The more businesses that sign up, the better the local experience will be. We have had tremendous interest and support so far.

“Local businesses need our support - our communities need our support. Businesses can help people to be there for them by becoming part of Scotland Loves Local family. There has never been a scheme on this scale in Scotland.”

With the platform to purchase the regional gift cards launching later this year, employers are also being urged to back other companies in their area by using the gift cards as part of their corporate rewards programme.

Card operator Miconex already supports more than 60 gift card programmes across the UK, Ireland and North America.

Miconex Managing Director Colin Munro said: “The launch of the Scotland Loves Local Gift Card is groundbreaking, giving every businesses in every region a chance to capitalise on the loyalty of local people in a scale we have never seen before.

“We hope to see businesses in every community register to realise the scheme’s full potential - and so everyone can benefit. Research by The Gift Card and Voucher Association suggests that local gift card schemes have a huge multiplier effect, with up to an additional 65% of the card’s value being spent as people visit other shops, hospitality venues or leisure attractions.”

For more information about the Scotland Loves Local Gift Card - including how to sign up - go to www.lovelocal.scot/giftcard.

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