Wednesday 8 July 2020 1:44 pm

Date night discount: Government to split the bill on dining out in August

The government has announced plans to cover half the bill for dining out in August to encourage consumers to support the hospitality sector after the coronavirus lockdown.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak today announced the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, which will provide a 50 per cent discount for sit down meals in cafes, restaurants and pubs across the UK.

The deal will be available every Monday to Wednesday throughout August.

Read more: Sunak slashes VAT on hospitality and tourism to five per cent

The date night discount, which does not include alcoholic drinks, will cover a discount of up to £10 per head at any participating venue. 

Restaurants, cafes and pubs will be fully reimbursed for the 50 per cent discount, the government said today. 

“This has never been tried in the UK before,” Sunak said. “This moment is unique. We need to be creative.”

Sunak also announced that the VAT rate for the hospitality and tourism industry will be slashed from 20 per cent to five per cent until 12 January 2021. 

Neil Birrell, chief investment officer at Premier Miton Investors, said: The “eating out” vouchers are bound to get people out into the pubs and restaurants in August, and will also help with employment numbers.

“The cost is nothing in comparison with what has been spent so far.”

Read more: Rishi Sunak Summer Statement LIVE: VAT for hospitality and tourism cut from 20 to 5 per cent

Will Shu, chief executive of takeaway delivery app Deliveroo, added: “The decision to reduce VAT and introduce the “Eat out to Help Out” discount is hugely welcome news for restaurants and pubs across the UK. 

“We are delighted that the government has listened and taken action after we called for a cut to VAT alongside our restaurant partners.”

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