Funding of £1.2 million put into gift cards has gone unspent in Glasgow after the council handed them to 85,000 people in the city. 

City residents were given the £105 Glasgow gift cards in 2022, which could be used in 950 shops and businesses, with the council confirming it could be used for almost anything – including alcohol.

People had 12 months to spend the gift card, which needed to be activated by November 30, 2022. It was distributed to residents on low incomes who qualified for council tax reduction.

But a significant amount of cash was leftover, which is now to be spent tackling poverty, it is understood.

The aim of sending out the Scotland Loves Local Glasgow Gift Cards was to help those struggling with the cost of living crisis as well as local businesses recovering from the pandemic.

This month’s approved council budget decided to divert the £1.2 million towards projects trying to alleviate poverty. More details are to be brought before councillors at a later date.

The distribution of the gift cards and use of unclaimed card and balances underwent an audit, which was presented to a council meeting last month.

The audit found “most key controls were in place and operating effectively.”

It added: “Authorisation for the scheme was approved by committee. The process for selecting the recipients of the gift cards was appropriate and focussed on Glasgow residents most likely to be in need.”

However there was “one area for improvement.”

A council report said: ” At the time of the audit, there were a number of cards which had yet to be issued or where the full balance of the cards had not been spent.

“Regular monitoring of spending takes place, however, no reconciliations have been carried out as it is intended that this will take place following the end of the scheme in early 2024.”