Eat Out to Help Out: More than 10 million meals claimed in first week of scheme, says Treasury
Rishi Sunak said the figures from the first week of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme were "amazing" (PA)
The Treasury has revealed more than 10 million meals were eaten with the Eat Out to Help Out scheme in its first three days.
The policy is aimed at boosting the UK's hospitality industry, which was one of the worst affected by the coronavirus lockdown, as well as trying to build confidence in people to start going out more as restrictions are lifted.
It works by giving diners 50% off their meals out in participating restaurants from Monday Wednesday, up to a maximum value of £10 per person, with the cost covered by the Government.
The Treasury said 10,540,394 claims for individual meals from restaurants had been made last week, at a cost of £53.7million to the taxpayer in the opening week.
A total of £500 million was set aside to pay for the Eat Out to Help Out programme, which runs throughout August.
But the new data also shows only a quarter of the 83,000 individual restaurants who registered for the scheme have made a claim so far.
All 10.5 million covers were from just 22,000 premises, who served on average almost 500 discounted meals each last week.
Speaking about the figures the Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: "Britons are eating out to help out in big numbers.
"And they aren't just getting a great deal - they're supporting the almost two million people employed in this sector.
"These amazing figures show that our plan for jobs is delivering."
Consumer analysts Springboard said it the scheme had already led to an increase in the number of people visiting high streets across the country.
In news which will buoy Mr Sunak, the firm said the number of people in retail destinations after 6pm last Monday, the first day of the scheme, was 19% higher than the week before, and lunchtime visits were up 10%.
But their report shows footfall numbers are still around half of what they were this time last year.