How will Rishi Sunak's 'Eat Out to Help Out' restaurant discount vouchers work?

8 July 2020, 16:19

Brits will receive discount vouchers to help them when going out for meals
Brits will receive discount vouchers to help them when going out for meals. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said all Brits will get "Eat Out to Help Out" discount vouchers that will give them 50 per cent off meals and drinks when eating out.

The voucher scheme will support restaurants, cafés and pubs now that they are free to reopen following the coronavirus lockdown, Mr Sunak told MPs.

It will cut the price of people's sit-down meals and non-alcoholic drinks by half, or up to £10 per head - a measure that he said has never been tried before in the UK.

The chancellor said "we need to be creative" in order to protect the 1.8 million people who work in cafés, pubs and restaurants.

So how will the vouchers work?

Where can I use the vouchers?

People will be able to use the vouchers in participating cafés, pubs and restaurants.

Businesses will need to register for their customers to be eligible for the scheme and will be able to do so through a simple website that will open next Monday.

They will then be able to claim the money back and the funds will be in their bank account within five working days.

Read more: Rishi Sunak's Summer Statement - The six big announcements

When can I use the vouchers?

The vouchers will be effective for August alone. There was no suggestion that the scheme would be extended into September.

They will also only be usable from Monday to Wednesday, which means there are 12 days in August where they will be applicable: the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 24th, 25th and 26th.

There was also no indication it would be extended into Thursday through to Sunday.

Read more: Chancellor announces £1,000 bonus for firms to bring staff back from furlough

How many times can I use the vouchers?

The 50 per cent discounts can be used "unlimited times" on eligible days when dining in, the Treasury's Plan For Jobs document says.

The vouchers will not apply to takeaway services.

However, the vouchers will only be worth up to £10 per head, meaning that people will only get £10 off any meal above £20.

What can I use the vouchers on?

Customers will be able to use their vouchers on sit-down meals and non-alcoholic drinks, the Treasury's Plan For Jobs document says.

It is unclear if individual outlets will be able to have any say on what items will be eligible for the vouchers, but, as it stands, it appears it will apply to everything on the menu.

Who can use the vouchers?

Everybody in the UK will be able to use the newly-announced discount vouchers, including children, throughout August.

There are no restrictions, so long as the individual businesses go online and sign themselves up to the scheme from Monday onwards.

What's the reaction to the scheme?

SNP economic spokeswoman Alison Thewliss said that some families were "barely eating" due to poverty.

She told the Commons: "Now is the time to strengthen measures to reverse rising child poverty, including a £20 per week increase in the child element of Universal Credit and child tax credits.

"This will help families put food on the table and clothes on children's backs at a time when many are struggling.

"These parents are not eating out, some of these parents are barely eating."

A restaurant owner from the Isle of Wight believes it will help revive the hospitality industry, which he said is "on its knees".

Mark Holmes, 33, who owns three restaurants on the island that have all been shut during the lockdown, said: "The Government are doing all they can to help us business owners get through it."

He added: "I think it is a really good incentive."

Shares in restaurant companies moved higher following the announcement, with shares in Wagamama-owner The Restaurant Group moving 2.6 per cent higher shortly after the chancellor's statement.

As it happened: PMQs and the Chancellor's Summer Statement

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