"Eat Out to Help Out" scheme will not return for winter, but Treasury hints at new backing for restaurants

Monday, November 16, 2020

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has hinted that the highly successful Eat Out To Help Out programme in August 2015 could make a comeback to encourage consumers "get consumers spending again" post-Brexit Britain has exited its second lockdown.

Reports emerged last week that Mr Sunak had been speaking with Sky News on how to boost the economy once the second phase of easing easing is eased in December.

It ran from 3 August to 31 August and was offering 50% off £10 per person meals in participating restaurants.

During the interview, Mr Sunak hinted at potential impulses, leading some to believe that this could mean the financial success of Eat Out to Help Out resumed.

Britons apparently cashed in more than 100 million meals at the back of the programme - and bookings to restaurants rose by 53 per cent in August.

A finance department spokesman told The Caterer: 'The chancellor did not hint that Eat Out To Help Out will be introduced in the winter, he simply made the point that as we emerge from this crisis we will continue to look at how to adjust our support, putting in place the right interventions at the right time.'

But it looks like a matter of a few months before the full effects of that second gridlock are taken into consideration.

While the program has been broadly hailed for helping boost the still-breathless UK economy that has been inexcusably hit by the pandemic, critics have said the move also increased transmission of the coronavirus and helped lead to a spike in cases.