Action by Glasgow City Council - supported by Scotland's Towns Partnership - to support residents through the cost-of-living crisis will see millions of pounds spent with local businesses.
Scotland Loves Local Glasgow Gift Cards worth £105 each have started arriving at 85,000 households eligible for the one-off cash boost.
And those receiving them are being urged to ensure the cards are spent to their maximum value - not just to help them cope with the burden of rising bills, but also to inject millions of pounds into city businesses.
While the gift cards from the council scheme alone are worth more than £8m, it is hoped that their use will unlock many millions more as residents realise the benefits of spending locally for food, clothes, other household essentials and much more.
The cards can only be spent with Glasgow businesses registered to accept them. More than 700 have already signed up.
Glasgow City Council Leader, Councillor Susan Aitken, highlighted the double benefit of the initiative today as visited one of the businesses registered to accept it - at the same time as cards dropped through thousands of letterboxes.
Speaking after visiting Brave Bakers, in Saltmarket, Cllr Aitken said: “Using the gift cards in the way that we are will not only help people struggling with the cost of living in low income households, but unlock a multi-million pound boost for businesses in Glasgow.
“This is a win-win for the city. It enables people and businesses to help each other at a time when it’s critical for our communities to pull together to tackle the significant challenges we continue to face in recovering from coronavirus as well as dealing with the rise in living costs.”
Scotland Loves Local Glasgow Gift Cards are expected to be with all eligible households in the coming days.
Every household receiving one has already been sent a unique activation code which they will need to use their gift card.
Brave Bakers, on Saltmarket, has been in business since 2018 and is one of the places which has signed up to accept the Scotland Loves Local Glasgow Gift Card. The bakery and cafe showcases its own creations as well as those from other local food producers.
Owner Petru Blaj said: “I hope the gift card will attract more customers and people to try our products. It’s so important for businesses like ours that local people support us. We hope that the gift card will provide another way in which we can do that.
“We have a lot of people who travel here - people who’ve discovered us through various events - to enjoy what we produce. But we would like more local people to as well. It’s a great chance for them to meet us and us to meet them.”
Glasgow City Council supported Petru as he set up his enterprise through the Business Gateway programme.
The Scotland Loves Local Glasgow Gift Card is the UK’s biggest local gift card scheme in terms of the numbers of businesses signed up to accept it.
On top of the council disbursement scheme, they are also available for anyone to buy and spend with, in the same way any other gift card is.
The gift card is an extension of the Scotland Loves Local campaign, the drive led by Scotland’s Towns Partnership’s (STP) for people to help their communities recover from the coronavirus pandemic by supporting local businesses.
STP Chief Officer Phil Prentice said: “The Scotland Loves Local Glasgow Gift Card really will bring the city together, helping those who need it most with the rising cost of living and securing the future of local businesses at the same time.
“Local businesses need our support to survive. I hope that people will stick with them not just when spending the gift cards they receive from the council, but for the long term too.”
Perth-based fintech Miconex is administering and delivering the Scotland Loves Local Glasgow Gift Card, as it is each of the individual gift card programmes available in Scotland’s 32 local authority regions.
Miconex Managing Director Colin Munro said: “We are confident that the council’s disbursement programme - coupled with wider Scotland Loves Local Glasgow Gift Card sales - has the potential to be worth millions of pounds more than its face value.
“Our experience of running similar schemes across the UK, Ireland and North America tells us this. The potential for Glasgow to benefit over many years is huge.”
Funding for the council disbursement project has come via a £9.45m Covid Economic Recovery Funding package awarded to the council by the Scottish Government.
There is no application process for the gift cards distributed by the council. Households which were in receipt of Council Tax Reduction as of June 1st 2022 will automatically receive their free gift card.
Find out more about the Scotland Loves Local Glasgow Gift Card at www.glasgow.gov.uk/loveslocal. Businesses can also find details there about how to register.