UK's 'Eat Out to Help Out' sees 10.5m discounts claimed in a week

Eat Out to Help Out scheme: People dine in at a restaurant
Emeh Joy

The UK government launched the Eat Out to Help Out initiative aimed at supporting the hospitality industry. This has been used to pay for almost 11 million meals in its first week, according to the Treasury.

Figures showed HM Revenue and Customs, which is giving out discounts claims by restaurants, cafes and pubs had received requests summing up to £50m towards 10.5m meals so far.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the report showed that people were really supporting the industry and its two million workers.

The scheme which is aimed at supporting the hospitality sector following the effects of the coronavirus and the aftermath of the lockdown operates from Monday to Wednesday each week in August.

The scheme offers UK diners a 50% Discount (up to a maximum of £10 per person) on food and non-alcoholic drinks at more than 80,000 participating eateries, cafes and pubs. But, this is only when customers dine-in.

Queues reported outside many restaurants that are participating in the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme on Monday

The discount would later be clawed back through claims submitted to HMRC. Payouts should take a maximum of 5 working days.

Evidence of strong demand can be seen already. Retail industry figures noted a rise of almost 19% on visits to high streets after 6 pm between Monday and Wednesday last week when compared to the previous week. They credited this boost to the Eat Out to Help Out scheme.

Springboard's data showed an increase of almost 10% during lunchtime trade on those days. Its report also showed shopper numbers across all retail destinations were 3.8% higher last week compared to the previous week.

A separate data from money app, Yolt suggested that the beginning of the scheme yielded a 14% increase in people eating out.

Also, in its previous estimation, it postulated that the scheme will cost £500m but will be invaluable in preventing job losses across a sector that is very important to the UK economy.

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