The €100 vouchers issued to families as part of the government’s post COVID-19 economic recovery plan have generated an additional spend of €11.5 million among consumers.

The figures were announced on Thursday by Economy Minister Silvio Schembri during a press conference at the MIMCOL offices in Sliema.

So far, €25.8 million have been spent in government vouchers, bringing the total of generated income from the voucher scheme up to €37.3 million, with €5.7 million in VAT revenue.

Some 2.23 million €20 vouchers have been issued, with a total value of €44.6 million. Around 57.8% or 1.29 million vouchers have been used so far. 

82.62% of vouchers used 'red'

The majority of the take-up - at 82.62% - was through the red vouchers, which can be used at hotels and restaurants, while 17.38% of the blue retail vouchers were used. 

Since their launch, voucher usage was most commonly recorded on the weekend, however August saw a wider spread of voucher activity throughout.

The highest activity was recorded on August 8 when 54,000 vouchers were used in one day, amounting to a total spend of €1,080,000.

On average some 46,000 vouchers were used every Saturday.

While specific information is not available, consumers gravitated towards using their vouchers on four-star accommodation, very popular restaurants and a variety of retail outlets.

A total of 5,616 outlets are currently part of the scheme, with 1,447 VAT numbers accepting red vouchers, 2,904 VAT numbers accepting blue vouchers and 89 which are allowed to accept both. 

An extra €16.42 spent with every blue voucher

The red vouchers had a multiplier effect of 1.36, with an additional €7.16 spent with every €20 voucher.

A total of €29.1 million was generated through the red vouchers, with a €7.7 million additional spend from consumers. 

The blue vouchers had a multiplier effect of 1.82, with an extra €16.42 spent with every €20 voucher.

These generated an €8.4 million total spend, with €3.8 million spent over and above the vouchers by consumers.

The minister said that while critics had suggested the scheme be simplified to cutting a cheque, banking data suggested that people were reticent to spend money, and cheques would not have been effective in stimulating economic activity.

“It would have been easier to cut a cheque and not go through the trouble of creating a system with new technology that ensured that the scheme worked and couldn’t be manipulated, and that businesses were getting an instant payout,” Schembri said.

“We’re glad the scheme was well received by both the public and businesses because we wanted to help in regenerating some of the income that was lost during lockdown, as well as encourage people to leave their homes with confidence again.” 

Prime Minister Robert Abela announced on Wednesday that the validity of the vouchers, as well as the COVID-19 wage supplement, would be extended to the end of October, by which time the 2021 budget will have been unveiled. 

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