Diners will get a 50% discount off their restaurant bill during August under government plans to bolster the embattled hospitality sector.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled the “eat out to help out” discount as part of a series of measures to restart the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The deal means people can get up to £10 off per head if they eat out between Monday and Wednesday.
Mr Sunak also said VAT on hospitality and tourism would drop to 5%.
The reduction, from 20%, will be in place for the next six months.
As he announced the discount, the chancellor said the UK was facing a “unique moment” because of Covid-19, adding: “We need to be creative.”
Pubs and restaurants reopened on Saturday after more than three months in lockdown, withsafety measures in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Mr Sunak sought to reassure the public that it was safe to dine out. “I know people are cautious about going out. But we wouldn’t have lifted the restrictions if we didn’t think we could do so, safely,” he said.
The discount will not apply to alcohol, but to food and soft drinks up to £10 per person.
The Treasury said the 50% discount can be used unlimited times during August and applies to participating restaurants, cafés, and pubs across the UK.
Mr Sunak said the plan was aimed at getting “customers back into restaurants, cafes and pubs” and protecting “the 1.8 million people who work in them”.
Businesses that want to take part in the scheme will have to register through a website that opens on Monday 13 July.
Mr Sunak said: “Each week in August, businesses can then claim the money back, with the funds in their bank account within five working days.”
He added that the cut in VAT, from 20% to 5%, would apply to “eat-in or hot takeaway food from restaurants, cafesChancellor gives diners 50% off on eating outand pubs; accommodation in hotels, B&Bs, campsites and caravan sites [and] attractions like cinemas, theme parks and zoos