Eat Out to Help Out ends TODAY after 64 million meals were ordered in August as Rishi Sunak urges diners to keep heading out amid call for scheme to be extended in hard-hit city centres
- Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme is ending today
- Mr Sunak said that more than 64 million meals had been claimed for so far
- He thanked everyone who took part in the scheme and urged Britons to eat out
The Eat Out to Help Out scheme is ending today as its creator Rishi Sunak thanks diners for taking part – but urges them to keep going to restaurants.
The deal, dubbed ‘Rishi’s dishes’, gives a discount of 50% up to £10 per head for people who eat at participating restaurants on certain days of the week.
Mr Sunak said that more than 64 million meals had been claimed for so far since the initiative was launched at the beginning of August.
The programme was part of an attempt to boost the hospitality industry in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
Mr Sunak said: ‘As the Eat Out to Help Out scheme draws to a close, I want to say thank you to the diners who have fallen back in love with their local.
The Eat Out to Help Out scheme is ending today as its creator Rishi Sunak thanks diners for taking part – but urges them to keep going to restaurants
‘To the managers who have spent weeks ensuring their restaurants were safe and to the chefs, waiters and waitresses across the country who have worked tirelessly, sometimes with more customers than they’ve ever had before – all helping to protect 1.8 million jobs in the hospitality sector.
‘The scheme reminded us why we as a nation love dining out and I urge diners to maintain the momentum to help continue our economic recovery.’
A number of chains and establishments have said they will continue the practice into September despite Government financial support being withdrawn.
Jemima Ferguson, marketing director at itsu, said: ‘The scheme has been hugely successful for us at itsu.
Senior Tories last night urged Rishi Sunak to abandon plans for a £30billion tax grab over fears it could throttle an economic recovery.
The Chancellor is said to be considering a huge fiscal raid in this autumn’s Budget to plug the gaping hole in public finances after record spending on coronavirus.
Many of the proposals would hammer the middle classes and better-off.
Fuel duty, capital gains tax, corporation tax, the pension triple lock and pension tax relief are all said to be in the firing line
The proposals are reported to have been drawn up by Treasury officials as ‘options’ for ministers in the Budget, which is pencilled in for November.
No decisions have yet been taken by ministers about how to deal with a deficit expected to top £300billion this year.
But one Cabinet minister said the Chancellor would face a revolt if he pressed ahead with the tax grab.
‘Tax rises of this sort would be the worst possible economic policy to adopt right now,’ the minister said.
‘It would guarantee a much deeper recession. Large parts of the economy are still fragile – we need to nurture it, not throttle it.’
‘It’s helped to drive over 50% more transactions during the Eat Out to Help Out period each week, without negatively impacting our trade during the rest of the week.
‘We believe ripple effects from the positive impact of this scheme will be felt for many months to come.’
Meg Ellis, of Honest Burgers, said: ‘We’ve been really encouraged by the shift in energy in our sector as a result of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme.
‘We’ve been able to bring more people back into work as a result of the scheme, which they have really enjoyed, and for some of our friends operating independently in the sector this has been the opportunity to confidently re-open for the first time.
‘Seeing the vitality coming back into their restaurants has been a joy to witness.’
The boss of the Greene King pub chain told the BBC that that city centre sites were still struggling, especially in London, despite some of its 3,100 sites seeing a significant boost in sales.
Andy Lennox, who runs two Zim Braii restaurants in Bournemouth and also founded The Wonky Table network of around 500 hospitality firms, said: ‘Trade’s record-breaking at the moment.
‘It is a false bubble so we’re not getting too excited, but Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are up probably 100% [on last year]. The week’s up 50%. Thursday has pivoted – it’s the new Monday.’
The Chancellor is being urged to continue the scheme from within the Government, reports indicate.
One minister told The Telegraph: ‘The scheme has been a big success in general, but it’s all very well going to your local restaurant down the road for a cheap meal when those restaurants are already doing good business because of people working from home.
‘It is the destination restaurants in city centres that need the help, and that’s where resources should be concentrated.’
Senior sources say the matter is an ongoing discussion within the Treasury.
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