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Tue September 21 2021

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Trade bodies welcome launch of gift card payments

17 Aug People are being encouraged use the new 'Scotland Loves Local' gift card to help support construction businesses as well as cafes and shops.

The Construction Industry Coronavirus (CICV) Forum – which brings together 29 trade bodies in Scotland – has welcomed the new gift card scheme and urged support for local tradespeople to help underwrite recovery. It is encouraging businesses and the public to sign up.

The scheme, which is designed to revitalise grassroots communities hit by Covid-19, will see the creation of gift cards for each of Scotland’s 32 local authority areas, each of which can only be spent in that specific region.

The CICV Forum is keen to see the scheme used by the public to support local tradespeople and the construction industry in general, recognising the emergency and essential work the sector undertook at the height of the national shutdown.

Iain McIlwee, chief executive of the Finishes & Interiors Sector, the trade body which represents the fit-out sector, said: “Local businesses need support more than ever after one of the most demanding periods any of us can remember.

“These gift cards will be a remarkably powerful way of unlocking spending potential – and keeping that money in local communities for longer. They will be a huge boost to cafes and shops, but we would like to see them also being used to purchase the services of local tradespeople.

“We would encourage CICV Forum members to urge businesses to sign up for the scheme as soon as possible as the sector strives to rebuild Scotland.”

The scheme was announced in July by community wealth minister Tom Arthur, and has been boosted by a new £10m multi-year fund. It is being delivered by Scotland’s Towns Partnership and fintech specialist Miconex, and is due for public launch in the autumn.

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John McKinney, secretary of the National Federation of Roofing Contractors, said: “This is an innovative way to help fuel the country’s financial fightback from Covid by supporting local enterprises and helping town centres survive and thrive.

“Buying local can make a real and tangible difference to the fortunes and futures of our hard-working local traders and tradespeople.”

Alan Wilson, managing director of Select, Scotland’s largest construction trade association, said: “As the body which represents electricians in Scotland, we would very much welcome this initiative and encourage consumers not only to patronise local shops and restaurants but also to support the trades which are so important to their communities.

“Sourcing your needs locally is more sustainable and better for the environment. It reduces our carbon footprint and chimes with Select’s stated aim of helping to build a fairer, greener society.”

Fiona Hodgson, chief executive of SNIPEF, Scotland & Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers’ Federation, said: “This just makes so much sense and it has never been more important to support local enterprises.

“We have all been through what was probably the most challenging event in people’s lives and trades people were in the front line as they kept societal infrastructure functioning and made sure services stayed operational.

“Apart from rebuilding a healthy community life, buying from local services is a way of saying thank you to businesses which kept going when many other aspects of everyday living were shut down.”

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