Thousands of Aberdeenshire diners ate out to help out

Diners in Aberdeenshire claimed thousands of meals during the Eat Out to Help Out scheme last summer, according to figures from the UK Government.

Wednesday, 3rd February 2021, 7:10 am
The Eat Out to Help Out scheme proved popular across Aberdeenshire.

The scheme, which was designed to give struggling hospitality businesses a financial boost during the pandemic, saw foodies across the country dine out for a fraction of the usual cost.

The Government picked up 50 per cent of the bill (up to £10 per person) three days a week throughout August.

Figures released today from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs show that more than 106 million meals were claimed for across the UK, totalling over £611 million.

Diners in Aberdeenshire claimed 199,000 meals across 203 restaurants under the scheme.

This provided an average discount of £6.12 per meal.

The total amount claimed by Aberdeenshire businesses was £1,218,000. This resulted in restaurants claiming an average of £6000.

The data only includes registered businesses with fewer than 25 outlets.

UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said although the scheme was a “welcome boost” to businesses, more now needs to be done by the Government to help businesses through the new national lockdown.

Ms Nicholls said: “The Eat Out To Help Out scheme is now unfortunately a distant memory in light of the subsequent restrictions and enforced closures suffered by so many businesses.

“These numbers highlight how the sector grabbed this opportunity and played its part in rebuilding customer confidence in eating and drinking out and helped power the wider economy. Hospitality can play this role again and is desperate to do so once restrictions are lifted. But we need further support from the Government, including a continuation of measures such as the VAT cut and business rates holiday, in order to revitalise the economy this year and beyond.”

HM Treasury said the scheme brought back over 400,000 people from furlough but did not specify whether it, or something similar, would return in the future.

A spokesman added: “We designed the scheme to protect two million jobs in hospitality, an industry whose employees are at high risk of long-term unemployment in the event of redundancy.”