Brits plan to eat their way to recovery with half-priced pub meals

Britain has launched a $A897 million “Eat out to help out” discount scheme to boost spending at restaurants, cafes and pubs that have been crippled by COVID-19, offering half-priced meals from Monday to Wednesday to get people spending again.

Jul 09, 2020, updated Jul 09, 2020
Britain plans to kick start its economy by offering half-price pub meals. (Photo: ABC)

Britain plans to kick start its economy by offering half-price pub meals. (Photo: ABC)

For the month of August, the scheme will entitle diners to a 50 per cent discount of up to 10 pounds ($A18) per head on their meal, finance minister Rishi Sunak said.

“This moment is unique. We need to be creative,” he told parliament during a statement on the outlook for the economy.

The discount can be used unlimited times in August and will be valid Monday to Wednesday in a bid to encourage people to dine out throughout the week and not just at the weekend.

It will not apply to alcohol.

Britain’s food service industry, which employed 1.8 million people before the crisis, has suffered thousands of job cuts, with lay-offs announced by firms including the owners of the Caffe Ritazza and Cafe Rouge chains.

Sunak also announced a temporary cut in VAT sales tax from 20 per cent to 5 per cent for eat-in or hot take-away food from restaurants, cafes and pubs.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of industry lobby group UKHospitality, welcomed the announcements.

“The measures announced today are extremely positive… and they should give many businesses in our sector much-needed help to get going again in earnest,” she said.

But businesses in other parts of the economy said they had been left out.

“It feels like manufacturing has been forgotten … tax relief for innovation, encouragement for consumer spending, industry stimulus packages, where are they?” asked Rowan Crozier, chief executive officer of Brandauer, a pressing and stamping company.

Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the umbrella Trades Union Congress, said Sunak should have given low-paid workers a pay increase rather than offering “a dining out discount for the well-off”.

The death toll from confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United Kingdom rose by 126 to 44,517, health officials said on Wednesday.


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