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Retail Minister suggests 'Spend Local' discount cards

Retail Minister suggests 'Spend Local' discount cards

Friday 15 October 2021

Retail Minister suggests 'Spend Local' discount cards


An “evolution” of the Spend Local scheme involving discounts encouraging islanders to hit the high street is under consideration, according to the Assistant Minister with responsibility for retail.

Deputy Kirsten Morel's comments followed the publication of a report that praised the success of last year's initiative to gift every man, woman and child £100 to spend locally, but concluded that it was “likely to have been a one-off event, despite consideration being given to a second tranche."

It outlined how 97.5% of the £100 cards given out to every islander last year to help stimulate the economy were activated, and £10,123,361 was spent locally as a result.

However, whilst it says “most elements [of the scheme] worked well”, the report did suggest Ministers “investigate ways to better target and maximise the positive impact on sectors most affected by the downturn”, having found the scheme “had not been targeted to maximise the positive impact on sectors most affected by the downturn.” 

Agreeing with the report's findings, Deputy Morel told Express there was “not a demand at the moment” for a repeat of the Spend Local scheme as it was, as retail is suffering in “different ways” compared to after lockdown.

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Pictured: Assistant Economic Development Minister, Kirsten Morel, said that a card that allowed people to access local discounts could be a good way to drive retail in the high street. 

Rather than facing the challenge of people not being willing to spend, retail is now struggling with staff shortages and rent prices, which a reintroduction of the scheme would not help with, the Assistant Minister explained.

However, he said that a variation of Spend Local may be possible - one in which the Government would not give out money, but islanders would instead be offered discount cards to incentivise them to shop locally rather than online.

“There’s potentially a role to play for the card to evolve into something broader - a locally focused card that enables people to have money on it to spend locally, and access discounts,” he explained.

Though he explained it was too “early” to provide further details on the idea, he suggested it could also help businesses deal with inflation.

He continued: “In the next couple of years, we’re going to see significant inflation in Jersey [which will be] a challenge for businesses and local consumers, so anything we can do to encourage islanders to shop locally instead of going online, which is where the idea of using this card in a more rounded way comes in.”

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Pictured: Deputy Morel said a local discount scheme using a card system could help encourage islanders to shop in town rather than online.

Last year Express launched Bailiwick Premium which offers hundreds of discounted offers at local businesses, and access to some editorial content, for a membership fee of £4.95 a month. 

Deputy Morel also suggested creating spaces for younger, newer retailers in their 20s and 30s to try out new businesses, with risks around debt mitigated.

“I’m really keen to find spaces where we can invite retailers to set up with new ideas at a low rent, so if the idea fails, it can fail without having incurred large amount of debt,” he said.

He added that: “As Minister for retail policy, I’m not going to be the person creating the innovative ideas for businesses, we just need to help provide the [retailers] with places they can try these ideas.”

Whilst he emphasised these are all currently early ideas, the Deputy did add that one initiative currently underway was a small retailers forum that businesses could join to “speak directly” to Government so they could “better understand the challenges they are facing.”

The forum’s first meeting was held last month, and the Deputy urged any retailers who wished to join to get in contact.

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Comments

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Posted by Private Individual on
I had always thought Deputy Morel had some brains, but sadly he has just joined ranks with the rest of our spendaholic government. This is taxpayer's money NOT the government, so please stop giving it away as if it grows on trees. As private individuals we have to work hard to earn money, then watch in despair as the government squanders it on complete rubbish.

Tax money should be used to run essential services only, NOT given away on a whim. Lower taxes will have a far greater stimulus to the economy than flooding it with printed or borrowed money.

Perhaps he could speak with the treasury minister to stop putting our taxes up and we might have some money left in our pockets to spend in the economy.
Posted by IanSmith97 on
Private Individual: Or left in our pockets to spend on line, like I do. Why? Hassle free, quick delivery, no grunted replies of “no” when you ask a local shopkeeper if they have something in stock, or “dunno” when you ask them when will it be in stock. They are killing themselves local shops.
Posted by John Sheen on
Not sure which story the above person was reading, but I didnt see any suggestion of taxpayers money being spent. By the sounds of it, these types of scheme rely on the retailer to discount their goods for those who have the card, as it they will more than make up for the lost income through increased footfall. Hardly rocket science and something definitely worth pursuing.
Posted by Scott Mills on
I'm looking forward to when they increase GST. Everything will be self check out soon, customer will be serviing, and paying themselves with the associated admin involved. Banks are getting tighter rules, anyone notice less and less bank machines, do they want to get rid of cash? and when you go in now, they try and encourage you to use the automated machine, no thanks, if I want to do that, I'll get a job there and get paid to do it. Same thing with self check outs at the supermarket, never used them and never will. That'll be a lovely day to spend on one of our world class beaches.
Posted by Private Individual on
Like I said before, leave the money in our pockets and we will decide what to spend it on. I don't need anyone telling me how to spend my money thank you!

Here's a tip for free, lower the prices of the goods in town and provide some parking and people might go shopping in it again.

The town is uninviting and expensive.
Posted by Scott Mills on
Yes please, always happy for the government to pass back "our" money. Bonus. Unless you want a "specials! ghost town in st.helier, which will happen over the next 5 years. Lovely beaches though
Posted by Keith Marsh on
Council of Ministers ~ Bonkers the lot of them, the shops cannot cut their profit further.
Government has no money available to assist in such a scheme. Inflation is growing month by month and will soon be out of control. Taxes are increasing at a time when most people are struggling to make ends meet and being frightened to open the next energy bill. St Helier is a total planning and retail mess.
I have seen this before and I can assure you, that soon "you have never had it so BAD".
It is time for the Government to own up, come clean with Finances and tell us the actual reserves. There must be a push to reduce local inflation, yes cut taxes and probably some "out of it" services. JERSEY is going to the wall and our beloved leaders have no new ideas on how to stop it.
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