Eat Out to Help Out: More than 10.5 million diners claim half-price meals in first week

Eat Out to Help Out. Credit: PA

British diners ate more than 10 million meals last week as part of the government's Eat Out to Help Out scheme - a bid to boost the UK’s restaurants after months of lockdown.

The Treasury said it had been sent 10,540,394 claims for individual meals from restaurants as part of the programme.

The policy gives diners 50% off their meal - up to a maximum of £10 per person - which is covered by the government.

If two people eat out together, they count as two individual meals in the statistics.

It means that a maximum of £105.4 million can have been claimed in the first week of the scheme, which runs on every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in August.

Rishi Sunak served food to customers in one restaurant after announcing his economic recovery plan. Credit: HM Treasury

The Treasury has put aside £500 million to pay for the programme.

Around 83,000 restaurants have signed up to the scheme so far.

"Britons are eating out to help out in big numbers," said Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

"And they aren’t just getting a great deal – they’re supporting the almost two million people employed in this sector.

"These amazing figures show that our plan for jobs is delivering."

Chancellor Rishi Sunak places an Eat Out To Help Out sticker in the window of a business during a visit to Rothesay on the Isle of Bute Credit: Jeff J Mitchell/PA

The Treasury did not reveal how much the receipts it had been sent were claiming back - or how many meals are normally sold during the first three days of the week.

Figures out on Monday from Springboard and finance app Yolt seemed to suggest the number of people eating out had risen by around a fifth at the start of last week.

But Springboard said its measure, of the number of people visiting retail hotspots at dinner time, was still around half of where it was this time last year.