Should we Eat Out to Help Out again?
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As rumours of a new Eat Out to Help Out Scheme come to light, we asked businesses and diners in Suffolk if the scheme should come back.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak originally launched the scheme in August, which saw diners save up to £10 on meals and non-alcoholic drinks if they ate in at restaurants and cafes.
In return, the government subsidised the scheme to help the eateries fund the lower price meals.
Businesses across the county took up the government’s offer, with many choosing to extend it themselves into September.
Mr Sunak declined to rule out a return to the scheme or something similar following the end of the latest lockdown, prompting rumours that it may return.
Brendan Padfield, who runs The Unruly Pig in Bromeswell, said he was in two minds about the idea of reintroducing the scheme.
“Eat Out to Help Out was a huge boost,” said Mr Padfield.
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“It not only provided additional income with the subsidies but it seemed to me to have the seminal benefit of increasing confidence.”
Mr Padfield said he remained concerned about perceptions that the scheme may have led to an increase in coronavirus cases, despite the work of many restaurants like his which have invested in making venues safe.
Nevertheless, Mr Padfield believed a winter scheme could help raise public confidence once more.
“Eat Out to Help Out would help immensely,” said Mr Padfield.
Hannah Huntly, from Applaud cafe in Ipswich, said: “It was really successful for us the first time but we are quite a small venue.
“In the summer we had a garden, now we are quite limited on space.”
Mrs Huntly said she wasn’t sure how much the scheme would benefit the cafe if it remained only for customers dining in.
“If it included takeaway purchases, that would help,” said Mrs Huntly.
We also asked diners on social media whether they would be interested in trying the scheme again.
Opinion was largely split on the idea.
Laurie Manning said: “No, definitely not, just give the money to the restaurants and cafes to alleviate their financial problems.”
Mark Banham said: “I thought it was brilliant and will definitely support it.”