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UK businesses claimed £849 million through Eat Out to Help Out… while Aberdeen lost out on millions due to local lockdown

Eat Out To Help Out was designed to support the hospitality industry
Eat Out To Help Out was designed to support the hospitality industry

Businesses across the UK claimed £849 million through the Eat Out to Help Out scheme – while Aberdeen hospitality venues lost out on millions of pounds worth of support because of localised lockdown measures in August.

New data from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) shows almost 50,000 pubs, cafes and restaurants took part in the UK Government initiative.

Discounts were provided for more than 160 million meals.

The scheme was designed to help provide a financial boost to companies who had struggled financially with Covid-19 restrictions, but has since been criticised over fears it caused an increase in infections.

A Warwick University study noted an increase in infection clusters a week after Eat Out to Help Out commenced.

Participating businesses could use the project to offer heavily discounted meals on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays in the month of August.

The HRMC said 34% of the discounted meals were in businesses with more than 25 outlets, accounting for 27% of the total amount of cash claimed.

In September, it was revealed that £38.6m of taxpayer’s money was spent subsidising 6.3 million meals in Scotland, including £9.6m in Edinburgh, £8.2m in Glasgow, and £1.2m in Dundee.

But because of the local lockdown in Aberdeen where hospitality premises were forced to shut, just £400,000 was claimed by businesses in the constituencies of Aberdeen North, Aberdeen South, and Gordon.

Gordon includes part of Aberdeenshire, as well as the north of the Granite City, so the true figure for the locked-down area will have been even lower.

It was previously estimated if Aberdeen had full access to the scheme, the Aberdeen economy would have benefitted from £4.1m worth of government support.

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