East Riding diners bought more than 600,000 discounted meals through Eat Out to Help Out scheme, new figures reveal

Diners in the East Riding bought more than 600,000 discounted meals through the Government’s month-long Eat Out to Help Out scheme, figures reveal.

Tuesday, 2nd February 2021, 12:45 pm
610,000 cut price meals were claimed at 349 participating businesses. Photo: PA Images

For three days a week in August, people could buy a half price meal at outlets that signed up to the scheme and save up to £10 per person.

The initiative, which saw people flock to pubs, restaurants and cafes across the UK, was largely hailed a success by the hospitality sector but has since been criticised over claims it encouraged further spread of the coronavirus.

New data from HM Revenue and Customs shows around 610,000 cut price meals were claimed at 349 participating businesses in the East Riding.

It meant diners saved £5.52 per meal on average. Businesses in the area claimed back £3.4 million from the Government through the scheme at an average of £9,700 per outlet.

A Treasury spokesman credited Eat Out to Help Out with protecting jobs across the UK and bringing back 400,000 hospitality workers from furlough.

But research from the University of Warwick suggested the scheme may have contributed to between 8% and 17% of newly detected Covid-19 clusters – a claim denied by the Treasury.

The Treasury spokesman said its analysis of the HMRC figures confirms take-up of the Eat Out to Help scheme “does not correlate with incidence of Covid regionally – and indeed where it does the relationship is negative.”

However, this analysis has not been published by the department.