239,000 meals were claimed in North Devon under the Government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme, new statistics show.
More than 100 million meals were claimed across the UK under the scheme, with 1.7 million in Devon alone, which ran throughout August.
A total of 84,700 eateries signed up, including 161 in North Devon and 6,671 across the South West.
North Devon topped the Devon table in terms of meals and discount claimed (over £1.1million), with only Totnes having more registered restaurants at 166 to North Devon’s 161.
On average, each registered restaurant in Devon claimed 1,129 discounted meals – 87 a day for the 13 eligible days.
Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has hailed the success of the scheme, which was designed to support the hospitality industry – so crucial in North Devon and the wider South West – after a challenging few months because of coronavirus.
Data from OpenTable shows bookings increased by an average of 52% on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout the whole of August, compared to the same days in 2019. The scheme is credited with protecting 1.8 million jobs across the country, with restaurant bookings significantly up on the previous year.
Eat Out to Help Out was just one part of the Government’s Plan for Jobs, an ambitious £30billion strategy to create, protect and support jobs as the country bounces back from coronavirus.
The Government will continue to support the hospitality industry with a temporary discount to VAT, from 20% to 5%, until 12 January 2021.
MP for North Devon , Selaine Saxby, said:
“I am delighted that North Devon has wholeheartedly supported Eat Out to Help Out. It has proven to be a much needed boost for local businesses with most seeing takings rise significantly for August.
This scheme has given people the chance to support restaurants, cafes, B&Bs, theatres and a whole host of venues across North Devon, saving jobs and businesses.
I would like to thank everyone who took part, making the scheme a success and showing that our community in North Devon is leading the way in the South West as we recover from the worst of the pandemic.
Although the scheme may formally be over, I hope everyone will continue to eat out to help out and support out local businesses. I also hope businesses will develop new promotional initiatives to help them through the coming months.”
The Chancellor said:
“From the get-go our mission has been to protect jobs, and to do this we needed to be creative, brave and try things that no government has ever done before.
Today’s figures continue to show Eat Out to Help Out has been a success.
I want to thank everyone, from restaurant owners to waiters, chefs and diners, for embracing it and helping drive our economic recovery.
The scheme is just one part of our Plan for Jobs and we will continue to protect, support and create jobs to ensure we come back stronger as a nation.”