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    • Last week of Eat Out to Help Out scheme led to doubling in restaurant reservations compared to same period last year, Treasury says
    • Scheme was the result of ‘weeks of brainstorming’, according to insiders
    • Rishi Sunak decided to increase discount from 40 per cent to 50 per cent 

    The last week of the triumphant Eat Out To Help Out scheme led to a doubling in restaurant reservations compared to the same period last year, Treasury projections suggest.

    Insiders say the scheme – which ends tomorrow – was the result of ‘weeks of brainstorming, debate and modelling’, with the Chancellor playing a key role in the success by deciding at the last minute to change the plan from a 40 per cent off deal to 50 per cent off – realising it would stick in minds more and make the calculation much easier.

    Mr Sunak’s advisers had urged him to prioritise the hospitality industry because 1.4 million people working in it had been furloughed, and 76 per cent do not have a degree or higher qualification, putting them at greater risk of long-term unemployment.

    The last week of the triumphant Eat Out To Help Out scheme led to a doubling in restaurant reservations compared to the same period last year, Treasury projections suggest (pictured: a large queue forms outside Nando’s in Bristol, August 26, 2020)

    Insiders say the scheme – which ends tomorrow – was the result of 'weeks of brainstorming, debate and modelling', with Chancellor Rishi Sunak playing a key role in the success by deciding at the last minute to change the plan from a 40 per cent off deal to 50 per cent off

    Insiders say the scheme – which ends tomorrow – was the result of ‘weeks of brainstorming, debate and modelling’, with Chancellor Rishi Sunak playing a key role in the success by deciding at the last minute to change the plan from a 40 per cent off deal to 50 per cent off

    The idea of a pre-paid card was rejected due to the challenges of producing 50 million debit cards.

    During the first three weeks, over 64million discounted meals were claimed in more than 80,000 restaurants – the equivalent to every person in the UK making use of it once.

    By the third week, the increase in reservations on the Mondays to Wednesdays when it applied had reached 61 per cent, and last week is thought to have hit 95 per cent.

    So far, more than £336million has been claimed back from the Treasury, meaning it may ultimately cost more than the £500million estimate.

    A source said: ‘We hope it does overshoot because it means more people getting back in the habit of eating out and more jobs saved.’

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