How much has Eat Out to Help Out really helped the UK economy?

The Treasury has already hailed August’s meal subsidy scheme a success. But has Rishi Sunak’s decision to give people a free lunch for the sake of the economy really been vindicated? Ben Chu investigates

The aim was to persuade customers back into restaurants, cafes and pubs and to protect hospitality jobs
The aim was to persuade customers back into restaurants, cafes and pubs and to protect hospitality jobs

When the chancellor Rishi Sunak announced his Eat Out to Help Out meal subsidy scheme in early July there were doubts over how effective it would be in stimulating the economy.

Some wondered if a £10 discount on a meal would really encourage people out to cafes, pubs and restaurants if they were afraid of being infected with coronavirus.

Others suggested the scheme would merely encourage people to eat out on the days that the offer applied rather than increasing the total number of diners over the week.

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