Eat Out to Help Out scheme launched by Rishi Sunak
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High-street chains including Mexican cuisine outlet Wahaca, Pho noodle bars and Joe and the Juice cafes are taking part. Weekly data about Treasury measures to tackle the economic downturn triggered by the coronavirus lockdown yesterday showed 48,000 businesses have applied for cash to cover the discounts, which halve the price of eat-in food and soft drinks up to a maximum of £10 per head. So far, the scheme has cost up to £350million out of £500million allocated in the Chancellor's summer economic statement to the Commons.
The Treasury will provide extra cash if required to fund the scheme, which runs until the end of this month.
Recent figures from the online booking service OpenTable showed restaurant bookings have been up by 27 percent on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesday in August when the scheme operates.
Mr Sunak said: "Today's figures show that Britain is eating out to help out – with at least 35 million meals served up in the first two weeks alone, that is equivalent to over half of the UK taking part and supporting local jobs in the hospitality sector.
"To build back better we must protect as many jobs as possible, that is why I am urging all registered businesses to make the most of this by claiming back today – it's free, simple and pays out within five working days."
The Chancellor promotes the Eat Out to Help Out scheme (Image: PA)
The Eat Out scheme details (Image: PA)
The Eat Out to Help Out scheme aims to help protect the jobs of the hospitality industry's 1.8 million employees by encouraging diners to safely return to their local restaurants, cafes and pubs where social-distancing rules allow.
Around 80 percent of hospitality firms stopped trading in April with 1.4 million workers furloughed, the highest of any sector.
Stephen Wall, the co-founder of the Pho chain, said: “The Eat Out to Help Out scheme has really been amazing.
"It's so nice to see our restaurants full of happy staff and customers again.
To find out which eateries in your area are taking part, please fill in your postcode below.
"It has certainly benefited our early week figures and seems to have encouraged the British public to dine out safely, as our restaurants are filling up and staying busy throughout the weekend, too."
Marko Husak, the co-founder of Indian street food restaurant chain Bundobust, said: “The response to Eat Out to Help Out has been phenomenal.
"Even though venues are operating at reduced capacity and with smaller teams following more thorough safety measures, we're still managing to serve a similar number of customers on Mondays – Wednesdays that we were this time last year. That makes a huge difference to independents like us.”
Updated figures from the Treasury showed the Help Out to Eat Out scheme has cost a total of £180million so far, with many customers choosing meals costing less than the £20 that would entitle them to a full £10 discount.
Treasury figures also showed more than a million of Government-backed "Bounce Back Loans" worth a total £35.47billion have been approved.
A further £13.68billion has been handed out in Coronavirus Business Interruption Scheme loans plus £3½billion in Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme loans.
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