'Disgust' over police canteen registered for Eat Out Help Out scheme

11 August 2020, 09:48

The canteen in the police station has registered for the scheme
The canteen in the police station has registered for the scheme. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

News that a police station canteen which is closed to the public had registered for the Government's Eat Out To Help Out scheme prompted mixed feelings from locals.

The Southern Daily Echo reported that Southampton Central police station had enrolled in the scheme which was launched to help the hospitality trade recover from the impact of the coronavirus lockdown.

But this revelation prompted one disgusted resident to pen a letter to the paper to say they were "absolutely disgusted" to read that the police station cafe was part of the scheme.

The unnamed letter writer said they were upset that Hampshire Police were using a"loophole" and accused the force of ignoring the spirit of the Chancellor's coronavirus scheme.

But all Hampshire Police buildings are under the control of the local Police and Crime Commissioner who appoints external companies to manage facilities such as canteens.

A spokesperson for the PCC said: "These are located at the larger sites, including Southampton Central police station.

"The supplier currently contracted to provide food and beverage services there has registered for the scheme.

"It isn’t open to the public, only to police officers and staff. They'll be able to use the voucher on qualifying purchases while on shift or working at the station."

But the disgust was not widespread, local Facebook pages showed large amounts of support for the officers receiving discounted meals.

More than 10 million meals were eaten under the Government's new support scheme for restaurants last week, after the Treasury promised to cover half of diners' bills.

The Treasury said that it had received claims for 10,540,394 individual meals from restaurants up and down the country.

More than 83,000 restaurants have signed up for the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, which gives diners 50% off their meals, up to £10 per person.

If two people eat out together, that counts as two individual meals in the statistics.

Launched by Chancellor Rishi Sunak as part of the country's coronavirus recovery plan it is hoped the scheme will help to boost the hospitality sector following the Covid-19 lockdown.