Government gives diners 50% off food in August with 'eat out to help out' plan

Diners who eat out in August will receive up to 50% off their food, the chancellor has announced, in a "first-of-its-kind" plan to rescue the hospitality industry.

The “eat out to help out” scheme will see the government offer 50% off, up to £10 per head, on meals out on certain days of the week during August.

Mr Sunak said the eating out discount was something that has "never been tried before in the UK".

Businesses will need to register to be included in the scheme, which will only apply Monday to Wednesday, and can do so online as of next Monday.

Everyone will be able to get discount through the scheme, including children.

“Meals eaten at any participating business, Monday to Wednesday, will be 50% off, up to a maximum discount of £10 per head for everyone, including children. Businesses will need to register, and can do so through a simple website, open next Monday.

“Each week in August, businesses can then claim the money back, with the funds in their bank account within five working days.”

Another part of the plan to help get customers back into restaurants, cafes and pubs is a reduction in VAT.

“So I’ve decided, for the next six months, to cut VAT on food, accommodation and attractions."

Mr Sunak said VAT will be reduced from 20% to 5% from July 15 until January 12 to help, noting: “This is a £4 billion catalyst for the hospitality and tourism sectors, benefiting over 150,000 businesses, and consumers everywhere – all helping to protect 2.4 million jobs.”

The government says these schemes are aimed at protecting some of the 2.4 million jobs in the UK's hospitality sector.

There is evidence from the 2008 economic crash which suggests that the hospitality sector could be a "key contributor" to jobs recovery post-Covid.

With hospitality making up 8% of the UK's workforce, the government is keen to get the industry back to where it was before the crisis.

There are around 130,000 businesses eligible for the Eat Out to Help Out scheme - this includes 85-90% of pubs that serve food.