South Ayrshire is set to sign up to a new gift card scheme that will focus on supporting local businesses.

Councillors are due to give the nod to the ‘Scotland Loves Local’ campaign – supported by the Scottish Government and Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP).

The scheme, which would be run by South Ayrshire Council, provides an alternative to the top up gift cards used by supermarkets and other big retailers.

However, rather than be confined to one shop, the card can only be used at participating businesses in a specific location, in this case South Ayrshire.

A report to the council’s Leadership Panel states: “The gift card is free for every business across Scotland to accept and uses the MasterCard network, so any business with a card reader can sign up.

“The gift card can be used in any type of business, and online or offline – so long as the merchant has a ‘bricks and mortar’ presence in the area.”

The administration scheme would be funded by the Scottish Government in the first year.

The production of the cards, along with dedicated support, would be managed by STP and its partner Miconex.

Gift cards are sold online via the Scotland Gifts Local platform. This site enables purchase from any location and also enables local businesses to purchase gift cards from the town and city gift card website for their staff.

The report continues: “Once a business has registered gift card recipients will be able to spend their gift card in that business (in full or in part, at any of the registered businesses including restaurants, cafes, shops, salons, attractions and venues) and they will appear on the relevant map and listings.

“STP will provide businesses with promotional materials including window stickers and social media cards.”

A third of Scottish councils have signed up to the scheme. South Ayrshire Council’s Leadership Panel will consider the plan on Tuesday, August 24.