Every person in the UK will be offered a 50% discount for dining out during August to help the hospitality industry bounce back, Rishi Sunak has announced.
Any business will be able to register for the scheme, which will see half-price meals at participating restaurants from Mondays to Wednesdays next month.
They will then be able to claim the money back from the Treasury within five working days, Sunak said,
There will be a maximum discount of £10 per head, including for children, the Chancellor added.
He set out the “eat out to help out” discount as he gave an economic update statement, branded a “mini-budget”.
Sunak also revealed VAT will be cut for six months from 20% to 5% from next week for firms in the tourism and hospitality sectors.
The move will cut the tax on eat-in and hot takeaway food from restaurants cafes and pubs.
It will also benefit hotels, B&Bs, campsites and caravan sites as well as attractions like cinema, theme parks and zoos.
It will be reduced from next Wednesday, July 15, until January 12, he told MPs.
The Chancellor added: “This is a £4bn catalyst for the hospitality and tourism sectors, benefiting over 150,000 businesses, and consumers everywhere – all helping to protect 2.4 million jobs.”
In total, he laid out £30bn worth of stimulus measures, bringing total cash for the Scottish Government as a result of Treasury interventions during the pandemic to £4.6bn.
Restaurants, cafes and pubs have been severely affected by the coronavirus lockdown, Sunak said, with many staff – including a large proportion of young people – placed on the government’s furlough scheme.
But in a “creative” bid to encourage customers to return, the Chancellor said: “I can announce today that, for the month of August, we will give everyone in the country an ‘eat out to help out’ discount.
“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.”
A Treasury document said the discount can be used “unlimited times”.
It will be valid Monday to Wednesday on any eat-in meal – including on non-alcoholic drinks – at any participating restaurant, cafe, pub or other eligible food service establishment across the UK.
Establishments will then be reimbursed for the 50% discount, the document said.