EOTHO boosts Treasury by £250m ‘while saving thousands of pub jobs’

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Government initiative: some 84,700 establishments signed up to the Eat Out to Help Out scheme and made 130,000 claims worth £522m
Government initiative: some 84,700 establishments signed up to the Eat Out to Help Out scheme and made 130,000 claims worth £522m

Related tags: Food, Soft drinks, Government, Alcoholic drinks, Vat

The Eat Out to Help Out (EOTHO) scheme generated £250m for the Government, data from trade bodies has estimated.

The discount initiative, which ran from 3 August to 31 August, enabled 200,000 pub and hospitality staff to return to work from furlough early to deal with the increase in trade due to the scheme – saving the Government almost £150m in furlough costs according to research from the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA, UKHospitality (UKH) and the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII).

VAT from additional food and drink sales during the scheme period generated £30m for the Treasury with additional sales of alcoholic drinks  estimated to have boosted duty and VAT revenues to the tune of around £65m.

The research's reveal follows figures announced by the Government that 130,000 claims were received for the scheme​ – equating to £522m for the Government, with further claims still to be made.

Continue investment

BBPA chief executive Emma McClarkin said: “The Eat Out to Help Out scheme has clearly been a success for the Government, pubs and hospitality alike.

“It has saved tens of thousands of jobs, helped with the recovery of the economy and boosted our sector at a much-needed time.

“Investing in our sector clearly delivers and we still need further support from the Government if it is to fully recover like we know it can.

“With the upcoming autumn Budget, as well as the business rates review, now is an unparalleled time to greatly reduce beer duty, business rates and VAT in our sector to give if the significant boost it needs to survive and thrive.

“Now is the time for the Government to continue investing in our sector to deliver a strong recovery and job security.”

Right support

UKH chief executive Kate Nicholls labelled the scheme “a shot in the arm for consumer confidence in eating out”.

“It gave our businesses the opportunity to showcase the investment they had made to keep customers safe while also making them feel welcome," she added.

“As we approach winter, we need to ensure the right support in place to stimulate a more sustained demand.

“A significant starting point would be to extend the VAT cut, ensuring the business rates holiday is continued next year and getting more of the UK economy back on its feet, including those businesses that remain closed.”

Strengthening consumer confidence has been critical to kickstarting the recovery of the hospitality sector, as well as the wider economy, according to BII chief executive Steven Alton.

He said: “The Government investment in Eat Out to Help Out and reduced VAT has allowed many pubs to start their recovery with a better than expected August trading.

“Further Government support will be required building on this investment to ensure pubs are sustainable businesses in the long term.”

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