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Chancellor announces 50% 'Eat Out to Help Out' discount for pub and restaurant meals during August

Rishi Sunak announced measures to help the hospitality industry recover (PA)

3 min read

People will be able to claim 50% off their meals in pubs and restaurants in August as part of plans to boost the flagging hospitality industry, Rishi Sunak has announced.

The Chancellor unveiled a range of measures to try and help the economy recover from the coronavirus pandemic, including a VAT cut on “food, accommodation and attractions”.

And will be able to save half the cost of their food if they go out to eat between Monday and Wednesday from the Government.

Delivering his summer mini-budget he told the Commons: "I can announce today that, for the month of August, we will give everyone in the country an 'Eat Out to Help Out' discount.

"Meals eaten at any participating business, Monday to Wednesday, will be 50% off, up to a maximum discount of £10 per head for everyone, including children. 

“Businesses will need to register, and can do so through a simple website, open next Monday.

"Each week in August, businesses can then claim the money back, with the funds in their bank account within five working days."

Mr Sunak said he wants to see pubs, restaurants, cafes and B&Bs "bustling again", telling MPs: "At the moment, VAT on hospitality and tourism is charged at 20%.

"So I've decided, for the next six months, to cut VAT on food, accommodation and attractions."

The Chancellor said the sales tax would be reduced to 5% from 15 July to 12 January, 2021.

"This is a £4billion catalyst for the hospitality and tourism sectors, benefiting over 150,000 businesses, and consumers everywhere - all helping to protect 2.4 million jobs,” he added.

The Treasury said the temporary VAT cut will apply to “supplies of food and non-alcoholic drinks from restaurants, pubs, bars, cafés and similar premises across the UK” - meaning booze is excluded.

The measures were welcomed by the Food and Drink Foundation, but it called for the option of extending the furlough scheme for the hostility industry to be kept on the table.

It chief executive Ian Wright said: “The UK’s food and drink manufacturers who supply into the hospitality and catering trade have been hard hit by the crisis, as their customers disappeared overnight. 

“These ‘squeezed middle’ firms will enthusiastically welcome the Chancellor’s announcement today to cut VAT on food and hospitality and slash the cost of eating out. 

“We hope these measures will lead to a significant boost in demand for the hundreds of manufacturers who supply into hospitality and the out of home sectors and help them to manage increased supply costs.”

He added: “However, if demand does not return quickly, these firms will continue to struggle unless they - and the sector they supply - receive additional employment support. 

“The Chancellor must therefore keep the option of extending full furlough support to hospitality and their food and drink suppliers in his back pocket so we do not lose vital jobs and businesses.”

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