Shoppers can unlock a multi-million pound boost for Scotland’s economy by backing a groundbreaking local loyalty scheme.

Scotland Loves Local Gift Cards are available to buy from today, giving people another way in which to spend with businesses in their communities.

Community Wealth Minister Tom Arthur told the Scottish Parliament the cards would help build inclusive and sustainable local economies.

He said: “This Scotland Loves Local Gift Card scheme will help support all our communities as they recover from the pandemic. They will bring activity into our towns and neighbourhoods – building wealth in local communities and attracting footfall which is essential for shops and businesses. 

“We know money spent locally is more likely to stay in the local economy and support local jobs. We want to see local communities thrive through a process of positive change, innovation and inclusive economic growth, offering people and communities the quality goods, experiences and services they want.

“I would encourage customers to shop local and show their support for businesses in their community.”

The Scottish Government is funding the rollout of the cards to encourage people across Scotland to choose to support local businesses – and in so doing, reignite regional economies and fuel the national financial recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Delivered by Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP) – the organisation spearheading the Scotland Loves Local campaign – alongside Perth-based fintech Miconex, the programme is the first scheme of its scale in the country, giving every region the opportunity to launch its own local gift card.

STP Chief Officer Phil Prentice said: “The power of these gift cards is immense, potentially driving millions of pounds into Scotland’s economy. Every shopper can be part of this.

“These cards allow us to think local, choose local and – critically – spend local. They are a quick and easy way of showing our loyalty and locking money into each region’s economy, protecting jobs and helping to make our communities stronger and more sustainable.

“And, with Christmas just around the corner, what better gift than that of supporting local businesses, who have never needed our support more.”

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 support for Scotland Loves Local. There are no registration costs for businesses to be a part of their regional Scotland Loves Local Gift Card. Payments are processed as part of the Mastercard network.

Supported by the Scottish Government and others, Scotland Loves Local is the campaign urging people to choose local by spending in businesses and attractions around them.

Employers are also being urged to back other companies in their area by using the gift cards as part of their corporate rewards programme.

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.

Card operator Miconex already supports more than 100 gift card programmes across the UK, Ireland and North America.

Miconex Managing Director Colin Munro said: “We have seen time and again the way in which gift cards have boosted individual communities or regions. To help deliver that on a national scale is extremely exciting, creating a tremendous opportunity to drive money into Scotland’s businesses.

“What can be a better way for shoppers to show their thanks to the businesses who have been there for us in so many ways during coronavirus to recover from the pandemic?”

The 17 existing Town and City Gift Card programmes in Scotland operated by Miconex will remain, with additional promotion for each area. To buy a gift Scotland Loves Local Gift Card for your region, go to www.scotlandgiftslocal.com. To find out how to register your business to accept the card, click here.

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