Around 85,000 low-income households are set to receive a £105 gift card after Glasgow City Council approved the scheme’s rollout on Wednesday.
The Covid recovery gift cards can be used in registered businesses in the city, with more than 700 companies signed up so far, and almost 400 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the process of registering.
The council was given almost £9.5m for the project from the Scotland Loves Local campaign, which encourages people to support their high streets – with this funding coming from the Scottish Government’s £80m Covid recovery fund.
Of the total amount £8.85m will be directly used to allocate the gift cards, with £423,110 to be used as discretionary funding by the council to support groups also impacted by the current cost-of-living crisis.
The remainder of the funding will be used to cover the administrative costs of the scheme.
Councillor Susan Aitken, Glasgow City Council leader, said: “The gift cards will give city businesses a much-needed lift following two years of the pandemic and the resulting impact on trade.
“But they also allow us to support tens of thousands of low-income households and individuals with practical assistance, something we hope can make a positive difference to them during the worst cost-of-living crisis in decades.
“While the number of businesses signed up to the scheme continues to grow, we’re still encouraging as many as possible – especially small and medium-sized companies – to sign up.
“We want local high streets across every one of Glasgow’s communities to benefit from this measure.”
There is no application process to obtain the cards.
Data from the council tax system will be used to identify Glasgow households entitled to council tax reduction, which in turn will be used to identify which households would be eligible to receive a pre-paid gift card.
There are 780 businesses in Glasgow currently registered to accept the gift cards, and the council is working to encourage more to register and benefit from the scheme.
It is expected that the cards will be sent out directly to eligible households throughout July.
To reduce the risk of theft, the cards will require activation, the council said.
The authentication process will see the card recipient being asked to enter their Scotland Loves Local Gift Card and National Insurance numbers on a dedicated website, and if the numbers match the record held, the balance will be immediately uploaded.
The council says that it has established processes to deal with enquiries from residents.