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New Forest and Christchurch diners saved £4 million in Eat Out to Help Out scheme

The government launched Eat Out to Help Out in August (picture: Yui Mok/PA)
The government launched Eat Out to Help Out in August (picture: Yui Mok/PA)

DINERS across the New Forest and Christchurch claimed nearly £4m in discounts through the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme last year, it has been revealed.

The biggest saving was made in the New Forest West constituency, according to government statistics. It totalled £1.269m at the 115 restaurants which took part in the economy-boosting initiative.

Dreamt up by chancellor Rishi Sunak, Eat Out to Help Out boosted the struggling hospitality industry after the first lockdown and ran throughout August last year.

Diners got a discount of up to 50% off food and soft drinks at participating outlets up to a maximum of £10 per person per meal. The outlets claimed costs back from the government.

In New Forest West 254,000 discounted meals were served up, with the average total claimed per outlet amounting to £11,000, and the average discount per meal £4.99.

By comparison, residents in New Forest East got through 187,000 meals with a higher average discount of £5.84. Overall, residents got a total discount of £1.086m, with each outlet claiming an average of £9,700.

In Christchurch only 75 outlets signed up to the scheme, serving up 242,000 meals for a total discount of £1.127m.

On average each outlet claimed £15,000 and gave a discount of £4.66 per meal.

The stats were compiled by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and detailed how nearly 60,000 outlets across England and Wales took part, serving up more than 106.5-million meals.

The Eat Out to Help Out scheme attracted criticism when the second wave of the pandemic arrived, causing some to question whether it helped spread Covid-19.

However, the Treasury cited research commissioned by The Sun newspaper which showed areas with the highest take-up of the scheme had lower infection rates during August and October.

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