PUB and restaurant bills will be 50 per cent off from August 3 as part of a new government scheme aimed at boosting the struggling tourism industry and economy.
Brits who dine out Monday to Wednesday up until August 31 will only have to pay for half of the tab under Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s new scheme Eat Out To Help Out.
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The government will cover the other half of the bill through the Eat Out To Help Out scheme, up to £10 per head, to boost the hospitality industry post-coronavirus lockdown.
The discount includes children’s meals too although it won’t cover any booze ordered to go with your food.
It will see an £80 bill for a family of four reduced to just £40.
The incentive is part of a mini-Budget package to help the economy bounce back from the coronavirus lockdown.
A leisure scheme like this has never been tried before in the UK, with the Chancellor telling the Commons that the “moment is unique” and calls on policymakers to be “creative”.
Mr Sunak added: “So, to get customers back into restaurants, cafes and pubs, and protect the 1.8 million people who work in them, I can announce today that, for the month of August, we will give everyone in the country an Eat Out to Help Out discount.”
The government will cover half of the cost of the meal out, up to £10 a head, including children.
The discount means that a meal out for two that costs £20 will be reduced to £10, but a £25 meal for two will be slashed to £15 because of the £10 cap per person.
There is no limit to the number of times you can use the discount, so in theory you can get half price meals on every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in August.
Businesses will need to register with the scheme on Gov.uk before being able to offer the discount, as well as be Food Standards Agency approved.
Further details on how you can do this will be released on July 13.
Instead of issuing discount vouchers – which the government felt increased the risk of fraud – restaurants, cafes and pubs will be able to claim back the cash.
The refund will then been transferred into restaurants, cafes and pubs’ bank accounts within five working days.
Customers will only receive the discount if they eat out at a registered business.
Any hospitality business that serves meals can sign up to the scheme, including high street chains and independently run eateries.
Hungry diners will only get money off the bill if they eat out on the quietest days of the week throughout August – Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday.
The Eat Out to Help Out scheme won’t apply on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturday or Sundays.
The scheme will begin on August 3 and run through until August 31.
The discount will only count towards meals eaten out, so you’ll still have to pay full price for your takeaway if you order it from a restaurant.
And remember you will have to pay the full whack if you eat at a restaurant or pub that hasn’t registered with the scheme.
It’s believed it will breathe life into the UK tourism and leisure industries too, which has suffered huge blows throughout the pandemic.
Eight in 10 workers in the accommodation and food services sector have been furloughed, according to the Office for National Statistics.
In July 2020, trade body UKHospitality warned that sales are expected to be 56 per cent lower than 2019, costing the industry £73.4billion.
It said that unless further support for the industry is provided, “hundreds of thousands of jobs are still in the balance.”
Workers across the board are also at risk of redundancy, when companies are expected to start chipping into pay furloughed staff wages from August.
So far, the coronavirus crisis has claimed a number of restaurant chains, including Carluccio’s and Chiquito, with chains such as Frankie & Benny’s and Pret also announcing branch closures.
Cheap staycations are also on the table this summer as the Chancellor announced that VAT will be slashed by 15 per cent on food, accommodation and attractions.
The tax will drop from 20 per cent to 5 per cent from next Wednesday.
The government hopes it will create jobs in local communities as Brits are encouraged to holiday in the UK this summer.
The Chancellor also set out plans for a stamp duty holiday to get the property market moving again after it all but froze during lockdown.
The tax-free threshold has been raised temporarily from £125,000 to £500,000 from July 8, 2020, until March 31 2021.
You can find out more about how it will affect you here.