Rishi Sunak defends Eat Out to Help Out scheme

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Chancellor Rishi Sunak defends Eat Out to Help Out scheme

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Rishi Sunak has defended the Government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme, which ran for the duration of August.

In an interview with The Sun ​newspaper the Chancellor dismissed suggestions that the discount meals scheme may have played a part in the second wave of Coronavirus that is sweeping parts of the country.

Asked if he had any regrets, Sunak said: “No, no, no, no, definitely not. We had an industry that I care deeply about because of employment. It’s over two million people.”

He pointed to low cases of second-wave coronavirus in the South West, claiming that region made the most use of the scheme.

His comments come as Prime Minister Boris Johnson suggested on BBC One’s Andrew Marr show on Sunday (4 October) that the discount scheme may have contributed to the spread of the virus.

According to figures from Barclaycard Payments - which processes nearly 40 per cent of all card transactions in the UK, diners spent 34.2% more ​at restaurants on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays in August than they did in July thanks to the discount scheme, with a large majority of hospitality businesses saying it led to a boost in trade.

The Chancellor also described his frustration with the 10pm curfew, saying: “Of course it’s frustrating. I know it’s difficult and wish we didn’t have to do these things.

“Our job is to debate policy and come to the right collective answer but the advice of our scientists was that this would make a difference and there we go.

“It’s one of the measures that we put in place but, you know what, we haven’t closed anything down and that is a good thing.”

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