Published — 7 September, 2020

‘Eat-out-to-help-out’ scheme steps up to the plate

More than 136,000 meals were claimed in Harrogate, Knaresborough and Boroughbridge under the Government’s Eat-out-to-help-out scheme, according to the latest statistics.

In total, more than 100 million meals were claimed across the UK under the scheme, which ran throughout the month of August.  In total, 84,700 establishments signed up to the scheme, including 153 in Andrew Jones MP’s constituency.

Mr Jones has hailed the success of the scheme, which was designed to support the hospitality industry after a challenging few months because of coronavirus. The scheme is credited with protecting 1.8 million jobs across the country, with restaurant bookings significantly up on the previous year. Data from OpenTable shows bookings increased by an average of 52 per cent on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout the whole of August, compared to the same days in 2019.

Eat-out-to-help-out was just one part of the Conservative Government’s Plan for Jobs – an ambitious £30 billion strategy to create, protect and support jobs as the country bounces back from coronavirus. The Government will continue to support the hospitality industry with a temporary discount to VAT, from 20 per cent to 5 per cent, until 12 January 2021.

These are amazing figures showing the impact the Eat-out-to-help-out scheme had on pubs, restaurants and cafes.  It was a great way to kickstart the return to normality for eating out.

Here in Harrogate and Knaresborough there was a huge impact with 153 premises taking part.  In total 136,000 meals were purchased under the initiative at a total discount of £931,000.  That’s an average saving of nearly £7 for every meal.

Now the scheme has ended I have spoken to many constituents who were worried about eating out again.  Eat-out-to-help-out has given them the confidence to go out again having seen the brilliant safety measures put in place to keep us safe.

This was just one part of the government’s help for restaurants, cafes and pubs.  As well as grants for businesses while they were closed and wages paid for furloughed staff, VAT on food produced by eateries has been dropped to 5 per cent.  Many businesses are choosing to pass this discount on to customers so that the spirit of Eat-out-to-help-out continues.”

Andrew Jones, MP for Harrogate & Knaresborough

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