Q Radio News/PA
The public have been told that time is running out to apply for Northern Ireland’s high street voucher scheme.
The stimulus scheme will see all those aged over 18 eligible for a £100 pre-paid card to spend, aimed at supporting local businesses, which have been devastated by Covid.
More than 1.4 million applications for the card have been received already.
Stormont’s Economy Minister, Gordon Lyons, said the portal to apply for the £100 card will close at midnight on Monday.
After that, it will no longer be possible to apply for the card.
Mr Lyons said: “There are just hours left for eligible applicants to apply for their £100 pre-paid Spend Local card. If you haven’t applied, you must do so today.
“Join the 1.4 million who have already applied.”
He added: “I want to see as many eligible applicants as possible receive and use their Spend Local cards and take the opportunity to support thousands of businesses across Northern Ireland.
“So, please also consider if you have friends or family members who may need help with applying.
“Already, local businesses are starting to feel the boost that the Spend Local card brings.
“However, this is just the beginning and we are continuing to process applications as quickly as possible so more and more people will receive their cards in the coming weeks.
“If you have already received, and activated, your card, I would encourage you to Spend Local. Use your £100 to help the businesses in your local area that were impacted by the pandemic.”
Economy minister Gordon Lyons
The closure of the portal does not affect those who have been asked to upload further information to verify their identity.
Last week, it was revealed that about 100,000 people who applied to the scheme have received emails telling them that their details could not be automatically verified, and they were asked to provide further evidence as proof of identity.
The Department for Economy said those who have received an application reference number, or an email confirming their application has been submitted, can be confident their application is currently being processed.
Anyone who is unable to make an application online or did not receive an application reference number or an e-mail confirming receipt of their application is asked to contact 0800 046 8330.
This line will be open on Monday from 8am until midnight.