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Eat Out to Help Out ends TODAY as Rishi Sunak urges diners to keep heading out

Britons are locked in a frantic final dash to take advantage of the East Out to Help Out deal today – as Rishi Sunak ruled out extending the promotion but Wetherspoons vowed to launch its own discount scheme. 

Diners joked it was ‘food binge day’ and they would try to ‘eat as much as possible’ to make the most of the programme, which has seen the government pay 50% of the bill up to £10 per head at participating restaurants from Monday to Wednesday.

The Chancellor said more than 64million meals had been claimed since the initiative was launched at the beginning of August.

Reports that it could be extended to help hard-pressed city centres were today dismissed by a senior Treasury source, who told MailOnline: ‘We love it as much as everyone else but Rishi is very clear about hard stops.’

Meanwhile, pub operator JD Wetherspoon has said it will fund discounts on meals from Monday to Wednesday until at least November 11, describing the scheme as a ‘great boost’ to the hospitality industry. 

The programme was part of an attempt to boost the hospitality industry in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

Diners joked it was 'food binge day' and they would try to 'eat as much as possible' to make the most of the programme

Diners joked it was ‘food binge day’ and they would try to ‘eat as much as possible’ to make the most of the programme

Wetherspoon’s plans to keep discounts after Eat Out scheme ends 

Pub operator JD Wetherspoon is launching its own reduced prices scheme after the end of the Government’s Eat Out to Help Out initiative.

The move will see prices on a range of meals and drinks reduced from Monday to Wednesday until November 11.

The cheaper prices will start on Tuesday, following the end of the Government’s drive to encourage people to eat out by subsidising meals during August.

Wetherspoon said prices on some of its meals and drinks will be cheaper than those available in takeaways.

Chairman Tim Martin said: ‘The Government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme was extremely popular with our customers and a great boost to the hospitality industry.

‘We are keen to offer our customers a superb choice of food and drink at great value for money prices.

‘Our offer means that a classic beef burger in our pubs will be even better value than McDonald’s.’

Mr Sunak said: ‘As the Eat Out to Help Out scheme draws to a close, I want to say thank you to the diners who have fallen back in love with their local.

‘To the managers who have spent weeks ensuring their restaurants were safe and to the chefs, waiters and waitresses across the country who have worked tirelessly, sometimes with more customers than they’ve ever had before – all helping to protect 1.8 million jobs in the hospitality sector.

‘The scheme reminded us why we as a nation love dining out and I urge diners to maintain the momentum to help continue our economic recovery.’

The idea of keeping the scheme going was said to be a matter of live discussion within the Treasury.

One minister told The Daily Telegraph: ‘The scheme has been a big success in general, but it’s all very well going to your local restaurant down the road for a cheap meal when those restaurants are already doing good business because of people working from home.

‘It is the destination restaurants in city centres that need the help, and that’s where resources should be concentrated.’

But a Treasury source has now ruled this out.  

A number of chains and establishments have said they will continue the practice into September despite Government financial support being withdrawn.

Wetherspoon’s said prices on a range of meals and drinks will be reduced from Monday to Wednesday until November 11.

The cheaper prices will start on Tuesday, following the end of the Government’s drive to encourage people to eat out by subsidising meals during August.

Wetherspoon said prices on some of its meals and drinks will be cheaper than those available in takeaways.

The Eat Out to Help Out scheme is ending today as its creator Rishi Sunak thanks diners for taking part - but urges them to keep going to restaurants

The Eat Out to Help Out scheme is ending today as its creator Rishi Sunak thanks diners for taking part – but urges them to keep going to restaurants 

Diners celebrated their meal deals today as they made the most of the scheme before it ended

Diners celebrated their meal deals today as they made the most of the scheme before it ended

Diners celebrated their meal deals today as they made the most of the scheme before it ended 

Chancellor is warned not to hammer middle classes on fuel, capital gains and pensions to pay off coronavirus bill 

Senior Tories last night urged Rishi Sunak to abandon plans for a £30billion tax grab over fears it could throttle an economic recovery.

The Chancellor is said to be considering a huge fiscal raid in this autumn’s Budget to plug the gaping hole in public finances after record spending on coronavirus.

Many of the proposals would hammer the middle classes and better-off.

Fuel duty, capital gains tax, corporation tax, the pension triple lock and pension tax relief are all said to be in the firing line

The proposals are reported to have been drawn up by Treasury officials as ‘options’ for ministers in the Budget, which is pencilled in for November.

No decisions have yet been taken by ministers about how to deal with a deficit expected to top £300billion this year.

But one Cabinet minister said the Chancellor would face a revolt if he pressed ahead with the tax grab.

‘Tax rises of this sort would be the worst possible economic policy to adopt right now,’ the minister said. 

‘It would guarantee a much deeper recession. Large parts of the economy are still fragile – we need to nurture it, not throttle it.’

Chairman Tim Martin said: ‘The Government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme was extremely popular with our customers and a great boost to the hospitality industry.

‘We are keen to offer our customers a superb choice of food and drink at great value for money prices.

‘Our offer means that a classic beef burger in our pubs will be even better value than McDonald’s.’ 

Jemima Ferguson, marketing director at itsu, said: ‘The scheme has been hugely successful for us at itsu.

‘It’s helped to drive over 50% more transactions during the Eat Out to Help Out period each week, without negatively impacting our trade during the rest of the week.

‘We believe ripple effects from the positive impact of this scheme will be felt for many months to come.’

Meg Ellis, of Honest Burgers, said: ‘We’ve been really encouraged by the shift in energy in our sector as a result of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme.

‘We’ve been able to bring more people back into work as a result of the scheme, which they have really enjoyed, and for some of our friends operating independently in the sector this has been the opportunity to confidently re-open for the first time.

‘Seeing the vitality coming back into their restaurants has been a joy to witness.’

The boss of the Greene King pub chain told the BBC that that city centre sites were still struggling, especially in London, despite some of its 3,100 sites seeing a significant boost in sales.  

Andy Lennox, who runs two Zim Braii restaurants in Bournemouth and also founded The Wonky Table network of around 500 hospitality firms, said: ‘Trade’s record-breaking at the moment.

‘It is a false bubble so we’re not getting too excited, but Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are up probably 100% [on last year]. The week’s up 50%. Thursday has pivoted – it’s the new Monday.’

The Chancellor is being urged to continue the scheme from within the Government, reports indicate. 

Staff at The Ivy Victoria in London, prepare the dining area as the government initiative Eat Out to Help Out comes to an end

Staff at The Ivy Victoria in London, prepare the dining area as the government initiative Eat Out to Help Out comes to an end








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