Eat out to help out: More than 10.5m meals claimed in first week

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Diners acquainted with the “eat out to help out” scheme more than 10.5 million times in its victory week, the Treasury has said.

Under the scheme, which is intended to lift the struggling hospitality sector, the government pays for 50% of a meal snacked at a cafe, restaurant or pub on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday.

The discount, which is due to run throughout August, is capped at £10.

Treasury estimates put the average claim at close to £5, remedying the cost of the policy around £50m so far.

HMRC said that, as of 9 August, it had take home 10,540,394 claims under the scheme.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak detailed the figures as “amazing”, adding those using the scheme were plateful support the hospitality sector.

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The government has set aside £500m to fund the policy.

And it has already led to an increase in the many of people visiting High Streets across the country, according to Springboard, which allotments footfall figures.

It said the number of people in retail destinations after 18:00 BST after Monday, the first day of the scheme, was 19% higher than the week previous. Meanwhile lunchtime visits were up 10%.

However, visits to High Thoroughfares are still down significantly compared to the same time last year.

The Cache said that 83,068 restaurants had signed up to the scheme.

They embody fast-fast food chains like McDonald’s and KFC as well as lots of shire, independent pubs, restaurants and cafes.

Government figures show that 80% of courteousness firms stopped trading in April and that 1.4 million employees were furloughed – the highest proportions of any sector.

“Britons are eating out to nick out in big numbers,” said Mr Sunak.

“And they aren’t just getting a superb deal – they’re supporting the almost 2 million people employed in this sector,” he declared.

The discount is only on food and soft drinks eaten on the premises, so it does not cement to takeaways.

There is no limit on how many times the discount can be used in August, or for how diverse people, including children.

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