Chancellor Rishi Sunak has indicated that there will be no return for the Eat Out To Help Out scheme this summer.
The chancellor said he is “proud” of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme from last summer but signalled that another similar scheme would not be needed again.
Mr Sunak said that the Government “doesn’t have the same concern we had a year ago” about how people would react when restrictions were eased last summer.
At the end of the lockdown in 2020 the Government launched a scheme giving everyone half off meals in pubs and restaurants – in a bid to boost the economy.
The august 2020 Eat Out to Help Out scheme enabled restaurants, cafés, pubs to offer a discount to customers dining in their outlet and obtain a reimbursement from HMRC, with more than 49,000 businesses claiming £849m through the scheme during August 2020.
“Last year we were worried about whether once things reopened people would get out there and spend,” he said.
He added: “There was a lot of information, talk, and polling and behavioural studies – people were very anxious, so we weren’t sure that even once things were open that they would get back to doing things that they love doing, whether it’s going for a meal, go shopping, seeing their friends.
“And that’s why we were a little bit interested in trying to incentivize that behaviour last time.
“I think this time around, we know now, both from our experience and from looking around the world, that actually, once you reopen things it seems that people will get out there and do what they do best, which is, go have fun. So, I think we’ve probably a less role really for government to encourage or incentivize that.”