Indian restaurants in Britain have warmly welcomed perhaps the most innovative part of Rishi Sunak’s mini-budget in which the Chancellor urged the nation to eat out for half the price to help the hospitality industry which has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
Its ‘Eat Half Out’ program offers ‘50% off meals and non-alcoholic drinks – up to a maximum of £ 10 per person – at qualifying pubs, cafes and restaurants’ in August on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Value added tax, currently 20 percent, has also been reduced to 5 percent until January 12, 2021.
A Treasury document says the rebate can be used “for an unlimited period,” so in theory, those hungry can enjoy breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, and lunch.
The telegraph consulted with Yadgar Marker, who runs the India Club in the Strand, where masala dosa, lamb bhuna and daal are among the favorites of loyal clientele at the nearby High Court, the London School of Economics, the King’s College London and the Indian High Commission. across the road.
Marker said on Thursday: “Today is the first day of our restaurant reopening and we look forward to welcoming our customers. It has been a very difficult time for us for the past three months with the entire establishment shutting down. to the public.
“Nonetheless, I have to thank the Chancellor for helping businesses and easing the financial burden in a number of ways. As for its 50 percent meal offering, the program is a great way to encourage people to start dining out. We will accept the offer.
Since meals at the India Club rarely exceed £ 20 per person, the discount will make a difference.
But “eating to help” has also been praised by Sriram Aylur, executive chef at Bombay Brasserie and Quilon, where the well-to-do don’t think about leaving a £ 10 or £ 20 tip after lunches and dinners where the average expenditure on food. is over £ 50 per person.
“I think this is a brilliant offer, we will participate in it as well,” enthused Aylur. “The reduction in VAT from 20% to 5% is also of great help. “
Restaurants, cafes and pubs have been severely affected by the lockdown. The UK hospitality and tourism industry employs 4.5 million people, or nearly 10 percent of the workforce.
But in an effort to keep customers coming back, Sunak told the Commons during his economic update on Wednesday: “I can announce today that for the month of August we will be offering everyone in the country an “Eat to Help” discount.
“Meals at all participating businesses, Monday through Wednesday, will be 50% off, up to a maximum discount of £ 10 per person for everyone, including children. Businesses will need to register and can do so through a simple website, open next Monday. Each week of August, businesses can then claim the money, with the funds in their bank account within five business days.
Sunak’s budget impressed his growing fan base in the UK press, with Robert Shrimsley commenting in the Financial Time: “Have a dish on Rish. The Chancellor’s summer relaunch has something for everyone ready to consume for their country. His pledge of £ 10 per head back on restaurant meals is an imaginative gimmick that will make headlines and help reignite refrigerated ovens in the hospitality industry.
“Once again, Rishi Sunak has shown the combination of gravity and soft political skills that make him such a powerful operator in an administration not too endowed with large numbers. His speech was perfect, demonstrating both that he understands the unique nature of the moment but still isn’t afraid to deliver less welcome political messages. “
In the evening, Sunak did a photo shoot. As the London Evening Standard noted: “Chancellor Rishi Sunak stepped in to serve customers at a Wagamama restaurant in central London after unveiling his ‘eat to help’ program.”