More than £1m claimed in South Tyneside for Eat Out to Help Out
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% of the bill (up to £10 per person) three days a week throughout August.
Figures released today from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs show that more than 106million meals were claimed for across the UK, totalling over £611 million.
Diners in South Tyneside tucked into 199,000 meals across 83 restaurants under the scheme.
This provided an average discount of £5.62 per meal.
The total amount claimed back by South Tyneside businesses was £1,117,000. This resulted in restaurants claiming an average of £13,500 per outlet.
Regionally, 2,006 restaurants in the North East claimed for 3,779,000 meals. This equaled £22,124,000 in discount claimed.
Outlets claimed an average of £11,000 each and diners saved an average £5.85 per meal.
The data only includes registered businesses with fewer than 25 outlets, so national chains are excluded from the local figures.
UKHospitality is the national trade body for the industry and covers everything from bars, hotels, coffee shops, and nightclubs to contract catering, visitor attractions, bowling alleys and even escape rooms.
Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said although the scheme had been a “welcome boost” to the sector, more now needed to be done by the Government to help businesses through the new national lockdown, the third since the pandemic began early last year.
Ms Nicholls said the boost given to businesses had only been temporary: “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.
“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.
A spokesperson 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.”