Wakefield district diners claimed thousands of meals in Eat Out to Help Out scheme

Diners in the Wakefield district claimed thousands of meals during the Eat Out to Help Out scheme last summer, according to the latest figures from the government.
Qubana in Wakefield was among the restaurants to take part in the scheme.Qubana in Wakefield was among the restaurants to take part in the scheme.
Qubana in Wakefield was among the restaurants to take part in the scheme.

The scheme, which was designed to give struggling hospitality businesses a financial boost during the pandemic, saw foodies across the country dine out for a fraction of the usual cost.

The government picked up 50 per cent of the bill – up to £10 per person – three days a week throughout August.

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Figures released from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs show that more than 106 million meals were claimed for across the UK, totalling over £611 million.

The Blue Bell in Pontefract took part in the scheme.The Blue Bell in Pontefract took part in the scheme.
The Blue Bell in Pontefract took part in the scheme.

Diners in Wakefield claimed 434,000 meals across 227 restaurants under the scheme.

This provided an average discount of £5.72 per meal.

The total amount claimed by Wakefield businesses was £2,481,000. This resulted in restaurants claiming an average of £10,9000.

Regionally, 5,032 restaurants in Yorkshire and the Humber claimed for 9,360,000 meals. This equaled £52,798,000 in discount claimed.

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Outlets claimed an average of £10,500 and diners saved an average £5.64 per meal.

The data only includes registered businesses with fewer than 25 outlets.

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.

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“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.

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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.”

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