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Record Breaking ‘Scotland Loves Local’ Glasgow Gift Card Scheme Launches

A local gift card scheme to boost businesses across Glasgow will arguably be the biggest the UK has ever seen, with over 700 businesses already signed up to accept the Scotland Loves Local Glasgow Gift Card. Gift and home retailers include Born In Scotland, Design Works, Downstairs Design, Hoolit Gifts, Hell Yeah, I Am Nomad, Janet and John, Papyrus and Welcome Home.

Across the board, those businesses registered so far feature independent shops, social enterprises, convenience stores and supermarkets, as well as major chains. All employ local people.

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, 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 –  worth more than £8m to local businesses – will encourage people across the city to effectively use them as local currency in the longer term.

Above: The Scotland Loves Local Glasgow Gift Card.
Above: The Scotland Loves Local Glasgow Gift Card.

As more companies join each week, the scheme has  already broken the recordfor the number of businesses registered to take part, more than double that of the UK’s previous biggest programme which had 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.

The 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.

“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,” highlights STP Chief Officer Phil Prentice.

“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.”

Funding for the council project has come via a £9.45m Covid Economic Recovery Funding package awarded to the council by the Scottish Government.

Data from the council tax system is being used to identify households in receipt of Council Tax Reduction. This will be used to identify those eligible to receive the pre-paid gift card. These will be sent out directly in August. There is no application process. To reduce the risk of theft, the cards will require activation via an individualised authentication process.

STP is working alongside Perth-based fintech Miconex, which is administering and delivering the individual gift card programmes available in each of Scotland’s 32 local authority regions.

A similar disbursement scheme in East Ayrshire – launched by East Ayrshire Council and Kilmarnock Business Association in response to the Covid-19 pandemic – was credited with delivering the dual benefit of supporting lower income homes and boosting the local economy.

For more details about the scheme, visit


Top: Multiple gift retailer Born in Scotland, which has outlets in Glasgow’s Enoch Centre and Buchanan Galleries, is among the independents signed up to the Scotland Loves Local Glasgow Gift Card scheme.

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