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26 August 2020 16:49

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Businesses are calling for the government to extend its Eat Out to Help Out scheme, following a hugely successful month of trade. The scheme is due to wind up next Monday, August 31, but industry figures are calling for an extension, concerned for what will happen to hospitality trade over the coming months. The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) wants to see Eat Out to Help Out extended through to September, with its chairman Mike Cherry describing the next months as 'economic make or break'. "More than 35 million meals have been cooked and dished out across almost 50,000 restaurants and cafes who have been able to reap the rewards of this great initiative, but as we enter September with schools reopening and more people going back to their places of work, there are still strong merits to continuing this for one more month." Mr Cherry also called again for more support for wet-led pubs, which haven't been able to benefit from either the VAT cuts or the Eat Out to Help Out scheme. It said the scheme 'complements a wider package of hospitality support that goes beyond August, including cutting VAT to 5%, paying the wages of furloughed staff, business rates relief and billions in tax deferrals and loans.' Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced that Brits are "backing hospitality", with 64 million discounted meals claimed in the first three weeks of the government's Eat Out to Help Out scheme.

Running every Monday to Wednesday throughout August, the scheme gives diners a 50% discount, up to a maximum of £10 per person, on food and non-alcoholic drinks. According to data from the Treasury, a total of 84,000 restaurants, pubs and cafes across the country have signed up for the initiative, which ends on 31 August and is aimed at supporting 1.8 million jobs in the hospitality sector. In a statement yesterday, Sunak said that "with more than 64 million meals discounted so far, that's equivalent to nearly every person in the country dining out to protect jobs. This scheme has reminded us how much we love to dine out, and in doing so, how this is helping to protect the jobs of nearly two million people who work in hospitality." A new report from restaurant booking website OpenTable shows that during the third week of the scheme, the number of customers at UK restaurants from Monday to Wednesday was 61% higher than during the same period in 2019. Many business owners have praised the scheme for helping to save jobs and bring customers back into restaurants and pubs.

Despite some outlets' criticisms of the scheme, new YouGov research has shown that the majority of Brits (59%) support extending Eat Out to Help Out for another month. The London Evening Standard reports that dozens of restaurants in the English capital are planning to continue offering discounts after Eat Out to Help Out ends next week, in order to keep up the "feel-good factor". A number of chains and independent restaurants have said that they will keep offering 50% off food after the Eat Out to Help Out scheme ends. The Government-backed discount offered anyone dining in on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays in August 50% off food and non-alcoholic drinks. Some 84,000 restaurants signed up to the scheme, with the most recent figures showing 64 million discounted meals had been served in the first three weeks alone.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: "This scheme has reminded us how much we love to dine out, and in doing so, how this is helping to protect the jobs of nearly 2 million people who work in hospitality. Toby Carvery - The chain has said it will keep the discounts going for 2 weeks after the end of the scheme. - The chain has said it will keep the discounts going for 2 weeks after the end of the scheme. Harvester - Harvester, with the same owners as Toby Carvery, will also extend its discounts into the first two weeks of September - Harvester, with the same owners as Toby Carvery, will also extend its discounts into the first two weeks of September Signature Pub Group - All 24 bars and restaurants run by the Signature group will offer the discount through September - covering the costs themselves. - All 24 bars and restaurants run by the Signature group will offer the discount through September - covering the costs themselves.

True North Brew Co - The Sheffield operator with 12 branches across the city - including The Blue Stoops and The Punch Bowl - is extending the deal throughout September and waiving the £10 a person cap. - The Sheffield operator with 12 branches across the city - including The Blue Stoops and The Punch Bowl - is extending the deal throughout September and waiving the £10 a person cap. Cityglen pubs - The chain that runs six pubs in South East London - The Great North Wood, The Brookmill, The Portland Arms, The Great Southern, The Windsor and the Red Lion - decided it would extend the scheme itself. - The chain that runs six pubs in South East London - The Great North Wood, The Brookmill, The Portland Arms, The Great Southern, The Windsor and the Red Lion - decided it would extend the scheme itself. "We are offering 50% off food and soft drinks on the 1st and 2nd of September The maximum discount is £10 per person which here at Cityglen Pub co, we are happy to pay as a gift to say Thank You," the pub chain said on its blog. The Coconut Tree - The Sri Lankan restaurant chain said it will keep be running the deal in September too. - The Sri Lankan restaurant chain said it will keep be running the deal in September too. "We are very worried that when August finishes, people will stop dining out as often as they do now, so we've decided to take the risk and extend the scheme further, even if it means selling the food at cost price," it wrote on Facebook. - Smiths restaurant said it will continue to run the scheme from September 7 to September 30. Peru Perdu, Manchester - The South American inspired restaurant will continue to run the offer throughout September. The South American inspired restaurant will continue to run the offer throughout September. TOBY Carvery and Harvester have promised to extend the Eat Out to Help Out scheme for an extra two weeks. Between September 1 and September 9, hungry customers will be able to dine out on half price meals even though the government scheme is due to end August 31. It will only be on offer to customers who eat out on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and the discount won't be applied to alcohol or takeaway orders. How to calculate the bill THE government will pay for half of your bill, up to £10 a head, when you eat out on certain days of the week in August. Like Toby Carvey and Harvester, some chains have decided to continue the offer but pick up half of the bill themselves. Here's a round up of all the restaurant discount schemes you can still use to get money off the tab even after the Eat Out to Help Out scheme ends.