Treasury responds to EOTHO extension calls

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Summer initiative: the scheme is due to end next week (Monday 31 August)
Summer initiative: the scheme is due to end next week (Monday 31 August)

Related tags: Food, Soft drinks, Treasury, Government

The Treasury has issued a statement in reply to calls for the Eat Out to Help Out scheme to be extended, saying it has been popular because of it’s limited time availability.

The scheme, which can be used all day, every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to offer a 50% discount - up to a maximum of £10 per person - to diners for food and non-alcoholic drinks to eat or drink in, started on Monday 3 August and is set to finish this Monday (31 August).

A spokesperson for the Treasury said: “With more than 64m meals served up under this scheme in the first three weeks, it is clear Britain is backing the hospitality sector by eating out to help out.

“Part of this popularity is precisely because it is a time-limited scheme – this reminds and encourages people to safely return to going out.

“The scheme complements a wider package of hospitality support that goes beyond August, including cutting VAT to 5%, paying the wages of furloughed staff, business rates relief and billions in tax deferrals and loans – all helping to protect nearly 2m jobs in the hospitality industry.”

This comes after a YouGov poll found more than three quarters (77%) of Brits who have used the scheme would support an extension​.

Diner support

The survey of 1,629 UK adults aged 18 to over 65 between Monday 24 and Tuesday 25 August found just 14% would oppose the suggestion.

The Morning Advertiser​​’s sister title MCA ​​reported the research also discovered of those who ate out during the scheme period, more than one in three (36%) will dine out less than they did before once Eat Out to Help Out ends on 31 August.

It also stated almost half (46%) will eat out about the same amount and just 4% will more than they did before with 7% saying they will not dine out at all.

The research stated 17% had used the scheme once, one in 10 twice and 8% had used it three times across August.

Furthermore, trade bodies also urged the Government to extend the discount scheme to help the industry as it heads towards winter trading.

UKHospitality boss Kate Nicholls labelled the scheme a “lifesaver” for the industry as she appeared on BBC Breakfast ​​earlier this week (Monday 24 August) with Duck and Waffle executive chef Elliott Grover at the central London venue.

Incredibly helpful

She said: “Boosting confidence, boosting footfall has been the most significant thing this scheme has done.

“Over the course of the three to four weeks so far, we’ve seen two in five of those who have come back out have been first-time users and 70% have said it was the scheme, which has brought them out, they needed it to build their confidence and now they feel they can return, not just to restaurants, pubs and bars but also the high street and they are more comfortable about returning on public transport too, which is critical for getting the economy moving.”

“In July, when we got our reopening date, a third did reopen so this scheme has been really significant in getting us from about half of our premises open to two thirds but there is still that third – lots of them in city centres and town centres where the footfall is lower, confidence is lower – that are still yet to open and that still means there are 1m of our teams still in furlough.”

Nicholls said an extension to the scheme would be “incredibly helpful for the sector” as the weather turns cold and outside areas cannot be used.

British Beer & Pub Association chief executive Emma McClarkin outlined how helpful the scheme has been so far and urged for more support for wet-led pubs.

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