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Aberdeenshire Council launches Loves Local Gift Card to keep spend in the north-east

By David Porter

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An Aberdeenshire Loves Local card is set to be launched.
An Aberdeenshire Loves Local card is set to be launched.

Aberdeenshire Council is set to launch its own gift card in a milestone move encouraging people across the region to back local businesses.

The authority is backing the rollout of the new Scotland Loves Local Gift Card - which is supported by Scottish Government - powering the region’s economic fightback from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP) - the organisation spearheading the Scotland Loves Local Campaign – will deliver the gift card scheme in partnership with Perth-based fintech specialist Miconex.

The Aberdeenshire Council Gift Card is one of 32 such schemes - unique to each region of Scotland - and can only be spent in businesses located in the region.

Welcoming the initiative, council leader councillor Andy Kille said: “The gift card holds the power to drive significant spending across Aberdeenshire’s economy - helping secure jobs and build a more sustainable, vibrant future for communities and people across the region.

“We encourage all businesses across the region to sign up to receive payments via our Loves Local Gift Card - this is the perfect way for people across the north-east to show their support for all that their local businesses have done for them since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The call to businesses to sign up was backed by Scotland’s Minister for Community Wealth, Tom Arthur MSP, who said: “We are delighted to be backing this innovative scheme as part of our pledge to support local businesses and communities within the first 100 days of government.

"The gift card is a quick and efficient way to encourage spend and drive sales growth in our local economies.

"Thanks to Scottish Government funding, this is the first of its kind on a national scale and I look forward to seeing businesses benefit from the opportunities it presents."

STP and Miconex are working with Aberdeenshire Council to launch the regional gift card, with the first year of costs being met by the Scottish Government as part of its £10 million of support for Scotland Loves Local.

There are no registration costs for businesses, with payments processed as part of the Mastercard network.

Supported by the Scottish Government and others, Scotland Loves Local is the campaign urging people to think local first by spending in businesses and attractions around them - evoking the strong community spirit witnessed at the peak of the coronavirus crisis.

STP chief officer Phil Prentice said: “We have never valued local life, the people and businesses around us more.

"The Scotland Loves Local Gift Card initiative embraces that.

"We can’t wait to see people loving local life by using their region’s gift card, whether that be while out shopping, meeting friends for a coffee or meal - or making a day of it and doing it all.

"This is an ideal way of supporting the brilliant businesses in our communities.

“These gift cards will be a remarkably powerful way of unlocking spending potential - and keeping that money in local communities for longer. "The more businesses that sign up, the better the local experience will be.

"We have had tremendous interest and support so far.

"Local businesses need our support - our communities need our support.

"Businesses can help people to be there for them by becoming part of Scotland Loves Local family.

"There has never been a scheme on this scale in Scotland.”

With the platform to purchase the regional gift cards launching later this year, employers are also being urged to support other companies in their area by using the gift cards as part of their corporate rewards programme.

Miconex managing director Colin Munro said: “The launch of the Scotland Loves Local Gift Card is ground-breaking, giving every businesses in every region a chance to capitalise on the loyalty of local people in a scale we have never seen before.

"We hope to see businesses across Aberdeenshire register to realise the scheme’s full potential - and so everyone can benefit.

"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 per cent of the card’s value being spent as people visit other shops, hospitality venues or leisure attractions.”

For more information about the Scotland Loves Local Gift Card - including how to sign up - go to www.lovelocal.scot/giftcard

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