Economy

Britons Dine Out on $700 Million of Treasury's Pandemic Stimulus

Britons Dine Out on $700 Million of Treasury's Pandemic Stimulus”

About 80% of hospitality firms stopped trading in April and 1.4 million workers were furloughed - the highest proportions of any sector - according to government data.

So far, a total of 2,789,000 meals have been claimed for across the region, with the average discount sitting at £5.79.

The UK Government scheme, which ran throughout August, saw 111 Moray businesses sign up, with 85,000 meals discounted - saving local diners £489,000.

"This initiative is just one part of an extensive package of United Kingdom government support for Scotland's economy and jobs".

However, in the last week of August, the number of people eating out compared with the same week past year was up by 63 per cent.

And on August 31 - the final day of the scheme which is not included in the latest figures - OpenTable said there was a jump of 216 per cent jump in bookings.

"From the get-go our mission has been to protect jobs, and to do this we needed to be creative, fearless and try things that no government has ever done before", Sunak said in a statement. That's a sharp contrast to July, when restrictions were eased and restaurant bookings were down 54% on average from Mondays to Wednesdays.

He said: "Rishi Sunak's Eat Out to Help Out scheme has been a tremendous success across the United Kingdom - and I am delighted to see so many people took advantage of the offer here in Moray".

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"In fact, we are now creating new jobs, by hiring and training more people as fast as we can", he said.

Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, said in a statement: "I want to thank everyone, from restaurant owners to waiters, chefs and diners, for embracing it and helping drive our economic recovery".

The Eat Out to Help Out scheme is part of Chancellor's Plan for Jobs which also includes cutting Value-Added Tax for tourism and hospitality by 15%, a £2 billion Kickstart Scheme, and an £8.8 billion investment in new infrastructure, decarbonisation and maintenance projects.

The Forest of Dean had the fewest number of participating restaurants with 70, but the 53,000 diners who took advantage of the scheme enjoyed an average discount of £5,76 out of a total of £306,000.

There had been an upward trend in the scheme's popularity since it launched, with 10.5 million meals claimed for in total in the first week, 35 million meals in the second, 64 million in the third and over 100 million by 31 August.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of trade body UKHospitality, said: "The Eat Out To Help Out scheme has been a great success for hospitality".

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis said it was "vital in protecting hospitality jobs in Northern Ireland and boosting its economy recovery".



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