A local gift card scheme to boost businesses across Glasgow is set to be the biggest the UK has ever seen. More than 700 businesses have already signed up to accept the Scotland Loves Local Glasgow Gift Card – with the number rising weekly. The number is more than double that of the UK’s previous biggest programme with 300 businesses.
The Glasgow-branded gift cards can only be spent with businesses signed up to accept them within the city boundaries, meaning that money is locked into the area’s economy.
Its roll-out is an extension of the Scotland Loves Local campaign, Scotland’s Towns Partnership’s (STP) Scottish Government-backed drive for people to help their communities recover from the coronavirus pandemic by supporting local businesses.
STP is working alongside Perth-based fintech Miconex, which is administering and delivering individual gift card programmes available in each of Scotland’s 32 local authority regions.
The surge in Glasgow businesses signing up to accept the card follows a decision by Glasgow City Council to provide financial support to 85,000 lower income households by providing them with cards pre-loaded with £105 each.
With Scotland Loves Local Glasgow Gift Cards available for anyone to buy, it is hoped that the one-off stimulus – itself worth more than £8m to local businesses – will encourage people across the city to effectively use them as local currency in the longer term.
STP chief officer Phil Prentice said: “The work taking place in Glasgow highlights the remarkable potential of local gift cards as a means by which to provide a significant injection into regional economies. Nothing has been done on this scale before.
“The decision by Glasgow City Council to use the cards to help so many homes across the city deal with the cost of living crisis – at the same time helping local businesses recover from the pandemic – has been a game-changer.
“This one-off stimulus has taken the financial power of the gift card programme in the city to the next level – one that we hope will help people realise that these cards are available to purchase and use as a long-term way of supporting local businesses. Importantly, it also reinforces the Scotland Loves Local rallying cry to think, choose and spend local.”
Businesses are being urged to ensure they can benefit from the millions of pounds already committed to the Glasgow scheme by signing up to accept the cards. Those registered so far include independent shops, social enterprises, convenience stores and supermarkets, as well as major chains. All employ local people.