By Karen Peattie

GLASGOW’S plans for a £9 million shopper stimulus scheme to help lower-income households and boost the city’s high streets have been described as “bold and imaginative” by the Scottish Retail Consortium.

The trade body’s director, David Lonsdale, commended the proposals by Glasgow City Council to help less well-off households and give a “much-needed shot in the arm to the city’s consumer-facing economy”.

“It has been a difficult two years for retail destinations which have been left reeling by the impact of the pandemic, associated Government restrictions, and economic uncertainty,” he said. “Shops will only survive with the patronage of the public and questions remain over what demand will look like for the remainder of the year given the cost-of-living crunch.

“This shopper stimulus scheme should boost retail in the city and may even trigger additional spending by shoppers beyond the value of the voucher transaction, creating an even larger economic multiplier.”

Stores, Mr Londsdale noted, had been “left reeling by the pandemic and weak economy”, adding: “Retail sales growth is tepid, store vacancies remain elevated, and shopper footfall is still well below pre-pandemic levels. Glasgow’s shopper footfall in May was 12 per cent lower than the comparable period prior to Covid.”

He also suggested that a retail voucher or high street stimulus scheme should be considered in other parts of Scotland as a means of reigniting consumer spending and transactions. Northern Ireland and Jersey introduced voucher schemes in the second half of last year to boost their economies.

Glasgow’s scheme will benefit 85,000 households which will receive a £105 voucher or gift card this summer. The council received Scottish Government funding for the initiative via the Scotland Loves Local campaign.

Cards can be used in registered businesses in Glasgow, with more than 700 businesses of all sizes registered across the city so far.

The Scotland Loves Local campaign is aimed at encouraging people to “think local” first and support businesses on their high streets.