Will we see a second Eat Out to Help Out scheme?
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Hospitality bosses have welcomed the idea of a second Eat Out to Help Out scheme, but say other measures would have a greater impact on the sector in the long-term.
Recent reports suggest chancellor Rishi Sunak is poised to extend the jobs furlough scheme and the stamp duty holiday until June to coincide with when Boris Johnson hopes to be able to lift all coronavirus restrictions.
It has also been suggested that Treasury officials are considering introducing vouchers for high street shoppers and bringing in lower alcohol duty for restaurants and pubs in recognition that the hospitality sector will continue to be impacted by restrictions until early summer.
The latter move would be coupled with higher levies on supermarket booze to help local traders.
Mr Sunak could also be preparing a relaunch of the summer’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme, according to the Mail.
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Brendan Padfield, owner The Unruly Pig in Woodbridge, said that other measures would be more effective than the headline grabbing scheme.
He said: "The best news would be the extension of the VAT saving. That above any other step taken by this government would be the biggest fillip and supporter of all of those in hospitality.
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"That saving will make a real difference. That saving will get us through to the other side.
"Reducing the duty on beer seems a logical and fair step. It would enable pubs to get back more on an even keel with supermarkets who we can't compete with.
"Of course another Eat Out to Help Out scheme would be great, but if I was asked to choose which move was the most important, I'd pick the VAT saving."
Mr Padfield said an Eat Out to Help Out scheme might be best used in the early autumn after the initial rush after the ending of lockdown had subsided.
Nick Attfield, director of properties at Southwold based brewery Adnams, said: "Eat Out to Help Out is like adrenaline for the industry. It shoots it back into life, but it is short lived.
"The long term support we need is the business rates, beer duty, VAT and furlough.
"They mean that we can properly re-establish, recover the losses that we've made and get back on track with thinking about the long term, not just short term."