Eat out to help out: How many meals were claimed for in Northampton under Rishi Sunak’s scheme last summer?
The scheme, which was designed to give struggling hospitality businesses a financial boost during the pandemic, saw foodies across the country dine out with a discount off the final bill.
The Government picked up 50% of the bill (up to £10 per person) three days a week throughout August.
But while hundreds of millions of pounds were claimed across the country, researchers have since criticized the scheme for promoting the risk of spreading Covid-19 in August and early September.
Figures released today from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs show that more than 106 million meals were claimed for across the UK, totalling over £611 million.
Meanwhile, diners in Northampton claimed 265,000 meals across 166 restaurants under the scheme.
This provided an average discount of £5.05 per meal.
The total amount claimed by Northampton businesses amounted to £1,339,000, or £8,100 on average per resaturant.
Regionally, 516 restaurants in Northamptonshire claimed for 793,000 meals,, worth a total of £4,176,000 in discounts claimed.
The data only includes registered businesses with fewer than 25 outlets, which excludes most major chain restaurants.
UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said although the scheme was a “welcome boost” to businesses, more now needs to be done by the Government to help businesses through the new national lockdown.
Ms Nicholls said: “The Eat Out To Help Out scheme is now unfortunately a deep and distant memory in light of the subsequent restrictions and enforced closures suffered by so many businesses.
“These numbers highlight how the sector grabbed this opportunity and played its part in rebuilding customer confidence in eating and drinking out and helped power the wider economy.
“Hospitality can play this role again and is desperate to do so once restrictions are lifted by offering safe and controlled environments for consumers to come back together.
“But we need further support from the Government, including a continuation of measures such as the VAT cut and business rates holiday, in order to revitalise the economy this year and beyond.”
HM Treasury said the scheme brought back over 400,000 people from furlough but did not specify whether it, or something similar, would return in the future.
A spokesperson for the Treasury said: “As we have done throughout the pandemic, we have worked with creativity and at pace to support individuals and businesses.
“We designed The Eat Out to Help Out scheme to protect 2 million jobs in hospitality, an industry whose employees are at high risk of long-term unemployment in the event of redundancy.
“It protected jobs across the UK by bringing back 400,000 people from furlough whilst safely restoring consumer confidence.”