Northern Ireland High Street Voucher Program: 140,000 not yet eligible
There are 140,000 people in Northern Ireland who are not yet eligible for the High Street Voucher program.
The Economy Minister said Northern Ireland’s electoral register will be used to verify the addresses of people applying to use the program when it launches later this year.
The High Street Voucher Scheme will see anyone over the age of 18 in Northern Ireland receiving a £ 100 voucher to spend at brick and mortar shops and businesses.
The revelation came after Sinn Fein MP Caoimhe Archibald asked Economy Minister Paul Frew whether candidates for the program had to be registered on the electoral roll to be eligible.
In response to his question, he confirmed that the electoral register would be used as a database to confirm eligible candidates, and that 140,000 people, including 40,000 between the ages of 18 and 21, were not included.
Mr Frew said: “A successful launch of the program depends on access to trusted databases not only to enable effective screening of applicants, but also to identify and stop fraudulent claims before they are transmitted. for processing at the prepaid card provider.
“During the development phase of the program, a range of options was evaluated to determine the best means to enable the distribution of prepaid cards. An application process was identified as the preferred option through which those deemed eligible will be invited to register for a prepaid card via a dedicated online portal.
“The information provided during registration will be verified against a series of government data sets to confirm the authenticity of the applicant.
“A data sharing agreement is being put in place with the electoral office for the use of the electoral register as the main source of verification because it is already compulsory for those over 18 to be registered on the electoral register, which should allow about 90%. requests to be validated in real time and prepaid cards issued at the applicant’s home.
“However, there will still be a significant portion of the adult population in Northern Ireland who will not be registered to vote when the program is launched. Currently, it is estimated that 140,000 adults are not registered to vote, including about 40,000 in the 18 to 21 age group.
“It is therefore necessary to access other trusted databases to authenticate these people if they wish to sign up for a prepaid card. Progress is being made with a number of departments to use their data sets. “