Chancellor says no need for another Eat Out to Help Out

21 May 2021 by
Chancellor says no need for another Eat Out to Help Out

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has suggested there is no need for another Eat Out to Help Out scheme as customers have flocked to hospitality venues following the easing of Covid restrictions in recent weeks.

Speaking to BBC Radio's Newsbeat, he said it was a scheme he was "proud of" but when asked if it would return, he said: "I don't think now we have the same concern we had a year ago, which is that we weren't sure how people would react when things reopened. There was a big concern a year ago that people just wouldn't go out and about, and that was why there was a call to try and do something to encourage that."

Sales at Britain's restaurants, pubs and bars were up by a quarter on pre-Covid levels as consumers returned with enthusiasm for the first day of inside service in England and Wales on Monday (17 May).

Data from research consultancy CGA found that reopened managed venues' average sales were 24.9% higher than on the equivalent Monday in May 2019.

Food sales jumped 29.6% as consumers took advantage of the opportunity to eat inside again for the first time this year, while drinks sales were up by 21.2%.

The Eat Out to Help Out scheme enabled restaurants, cafés, pubs and other eligible establishments such as workplace and school canteens to offer a discount to customers dining in their outlet and obtain a reimbursement from HMRC, with more than 49,000 businesses claiming £849m through the scheme during August 2020.

The initiative was praised for producing bumper sales for the hospitality industry, however staffing has proved the biggest problem for businesses following the latest reopening rather than bookings and sales. Almost nine in 10 are struggling to recruit for kitchen and back of house positions and some operators are having to limit trading hours due to a lack of staff.

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