Rishi Sunak hints there could be a winter Eat Out to Help Out scheme after lockdown

RISHI Sunak has dropped a major hint that a winter version of the Eat Out to Help Out meal deal could be on the cards “to get consumers spending again” after lockdown. 

Mr Sunak said this morning there would be more measures to try and get people out and about again after the encouraging news that the UK economy grew a massive 15.5 per cent after the first shutdown.

Rishi Sunak hinted there could be a winter Eat Out to Help Out scheme
Credit: Rishi Sunak Twitter
Restaurants were packed throughout August
Credit: Rex Features
The scheme cost the Exchequer £500million
Credit: PA:Press Association

New stats from the Office of National Statistics showed a record economic bounce back through July to December. 

But the economy stayed 9.7 per cent smaller than it was at the end of last year and as new restrictions shuttered up shops and forced pubs to close, it is on track to shrink even more. 

The Eat Out to Help Out discount dining deal meant Brits could get up to 50 per cent off meals, up to £10 per person, Monday through Wednesday in August. 

The scheme is credited with getting the economy rumbling again as people flocked to restaurants, pubs and cafes. 

And when asked if a fresh version of Eat Out to Help Out could be rolled out to boost businesses after the latest shut down, Mr Sunak said he will be looking at similar economic measures.

Speaking to Sky News this morning, Mr Sunak said: “We’ll talk about specific measures, but more broadly I think it’s right when we finally exit this (lockdown) and hopefully next year with testing and vaccines, we’ll be able to start to look forward to getting back to normal.

“We’ll have to look forward to the economic situation then and see what the best form of our support.

“We want to get consumers spending again, get them out and about, we’ll look at a range of things to see what the right interventions are at that time.”

It comes as: 

  • Coronavirus tests for as little as £5 could help get fans back into footies stadiums
  • Brits will get an extra bank holiday in 2022 for the Queen’s 70th year on the throne
  • The Royals could be used to spearhead campaigns for mass testing
  • Britain became the first country in Europe to hit 50,000 deaths

The Sun revealed earlier this year Mr Sunak was considering another run at the Eat Out to Help Out scheme.

The final day of the scheme, Monday August 31, saw a 216% jump in bookings compared to the equivalent day in 2019, according to initial data from OpenTable.

The latest data shows a V-shaped recovery but experts say it could be short-lived

Brits took took advantage of the bumper meal deal more than 100 million times over August, costing the Exchequer £522million. 

The Chancellor also slashed VAT from 20 per cent to 5 per cent for the hospitality sector, helping boost sales for restaurants. 

Monthly GDP jumped 2.2 per cent in August and was driven massively by the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme. 

There were also fears that the diner discount drove a rise in coronavirus cases, which started to climb from early September, only weeks after the scheme ended. 

And Mr Sunak is under increasing pressure to raise Government revenues by hiking taxes. 

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