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Hounslow residents are being given £20 vouchers to spend in local shops

The council wants – really wants – you to start shopping independent
Written by
Joe Mackertich

Hounslow is near Heathrow. There we go, saved (most of) you a click.

In any case, the west London council has decided to give a much-needed shot-in-the-arm to local commerce by issuing every single home in the borough with a £20 shopping voucher. The only caveat: it needs to be spent in Hounslow. More than 330 businesses in the area have already signed up to take part. That’s a lot!

This is a good thing. The borough’s economy was hit hard by pandemic-related mass redundancies at Heathrow Airport last year. What had been one of London’s fastest-growing economies essentially ground to a halt. One local councillor, Shantanu Rajawat, claimed that Hounslow businesses applying for Council Tax support rocketed by 60 percent.

‘Heathrow is a massive impact on the borough,’ said Rajawat. ‘We’d got to a point where we were very concerned with the downturn in Heathrow and the increase in claims of council tax support and universal credit. We thought: How do we energise local businesses and increase footfall?’

The programme has already proved successful, with lots of local independent businesses enjoying a boost in sales. More than 3,500 vouchers have already been redeemed.

Oh, and if you’re one of those people who says ‘But loads of people are just going to take it down the bookies’: no. The vouchers are not valid in betting shops of any kind. You can, however, spend them on booze! As long as the pub is in Hounslow. £20? That’s at least two drinks at current London prices!

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