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Author: Belfast Telegraph - Brendan McDaid
Published on 27 June 2013 12:00 PM

Derry City Council has unanimously backed a motion calling on the city’s businesses to introduce a weekly discount day for pensioners.

It is hoped the move will help local traders to harness the grey pound and help offset the growing trend among younger generations of shopping online.

The council will now write to the Chamber of Commerce urging it to float the idea to its members.

Starting a province-wide campaign was first mooted during the Northern Ireland Pensioners Parliament conference held in Londonderry in March this year.

Proposing the discount day motion to Derry City Council, SDLP Shantallow councillor Shaun Gallagher said he hoped such a move would entice more pensioners into the city and provide a boost to the local economy.

Mr Gallagher said at this week’s full council meeting: “At the Pensioners Parliament at the City Hotel in March the members there voted overwhelmingly for a discount day campaign to give value for money for pensioners, and with the benefit cuts coming down the road they need all the help they can get.

“This was the most popular of all the votes put to the parliament, and I have no doubt this is a non-contentious issue that all parties will be able to support.

“I would suggest the council write to the Chamber of Commerce to put it on their agenda and see what response you can get. I believe the general public would look kindly on it.”

He added that some local businesses in Derry historically had offered 10% discount to pensioners on a particular day of the week, usually a Wednesday.

Mr Gallagher said he believed that broadening this out to include more shops “would be one way of stimulating footfall”.

Fellow SDLP councillor Brenda Stevenson, in seconding the motion, concurred that incoming welfare cuts “are going to affect the most vulnerable, the elderly being one of those groups.”

Also supporting the motion on behalf of his party, Sinn Fein councillor Paul Fleming said that major retailers and supermarkets should also be asked to join in the discount day.

DUP Councillor Maurice Devenney quipped that there were some in the chamber who where of an age where they might have to declare an interest in the motion.

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