The government has denied speculation the Eat Out to Help Out (EOTHO) scheme will be returning this winter.
Reports were circulating that it could make a comeback after chancellor Rishi Sunak told Sky News on Thursday the government was considering measures to encourage consumer spending after England's national lockdown ends in December.
When questioned about the possible return of EOTHO, Sunak said: "I won't talk about specific measures but…we want to get consumers spending again and people out and about. So we'll look at a range of things to see what the right interventions are at that time."
But the government said there was no implication these measures could include the return of the discounted meal scheme.
A Treasury spokesperson told The Caterer: "The chancellor did not hint that Eat Out To Help Out will be introduced in the winter, he simply made the point that as we emerge from this crisis we will continue to look at how to adjust our support, putting in place the right interventions at the right time."
More than 100 million cut-price meals were claimed through the scheme during August, at a cost of more than £500m.
Consumers were able to claim a 50% discount on meals out, up to a maximum of £10 for each diner, subsidised by the government.
The initiative was praised for producing bumper sales for the hospitality industry, with many operators continuing to self-fund extensions of the scheme after it ended in September.