News Release: Alex Backs 'Eat Out to Help Out'

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has provided a much-needed boost for tourism and hospitality businesses in Brentwood and Ongar, as part of his Summer Economic Update to kickstart the economy post-coronavirus.

Brentwood and Ongar MP, Alex Burghart, welcomed today’s measures, which will see VAT for hospitality, accommodation and attraction businesses cut from 20 per cent to 5 per cent for six months. Sectors which have been particularly hard hit by the coronavirus crisis are being supported, helping businesses to recover and boosting the number of jobs across the country. Up to 600 businesses could stand to benefit from the measures in Alex’s constituency.

Alex has also urged local people to “eat out to help out”, following the announcement that the Government will pay for up to 50 per cent of people’s meals out at restaurants, pubs and cafes on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout August. The Eat Out to Help Out scheme will entitle everyone to a discount of up to 50 per cent on their meal, up to a maximum of £10 per person. Up to 220 businesses across Brentwood and Ongar will be able to claim the money back from the Government, which will be paid in five working days.

Taken together, these measures will provide a timely and much-needed boost to the tourism and hospitality industries in Brentwood and Ongar, forming a key part of the Government’s plan for jobs – supporting people to find jobs, creating new jobs and protecting jobs in hard-hit sectors.

Commenting, Alex said: “There is no doubt it has been hugely hard for many businesses in Brentwood and Ongar as a result of the lockdown limitations. Now that the virus is coming under control, we must turn our attention to creating and protecting jobs in our towns and villages.

“I hope that everyone in Brentwood and Ongar will answer the call to Eat Out to Help Out. This fantastic new voucher scheme, along with the cut in VAT, is the much-needed lifeline many businesses have been calling for. After months of lockdown home-cooking this will be our chance to eat out at some of our finest local pubs, restaurants and cafes and help them get back on their feet.

“This plan for jobs will turn our national recovery into millions of stories of personal renewal – as the Conservatives continue to stand squarely behind people, businesses and our economy.” ENDS

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Notes to Editors

Our Plan for Jobs supports, creates and protects jobs in tourism and hospitality by:


  • Temporarily cutting VAT for the tourism and hospitality sectors, giving a much-needed boost to some of the industries hardest hit by coronavirus. From 15 July 2020, we will cut the rate of VAT applied across the UK to hospitality, accommodation and attractions from 20 per cent to 5 per cent until 12 January 2021. This could support almost 2 million businesses and protect 2.5 million jobs.


  • Launching a new Eat Out to Help Out scheme – something that has never been done in this country ever before – giving people up to 50 per cent off meals out, encouraging them back into restaurants, cafes and pubs. Anyone who eats at a participating business, Monday to Wednesday for the month of August, can receive up to 50 per cent off food and non-alcoholic drinks, up to a value of £10 per person. Businesses can claim the money back from the government weekly, receiving funds within 5 working days. Guidance for businesses will be published next week.


  • Rewarding and incentivising employers who successfully bring furloughed staff back through a new Jobs Retention Bonus Scheme. To encourage employers to keep their employees on, we are introducing the Jobs Retention Bonus Scheme, a one-off payment of £1,000 to the business for every employee who was furloughed previously and who is successfully kept on continuously until January. Our message to business is clear: if you stand by your employee, we will stand by you.


This builds on the support we have already provided to tourism and hospitality businesses:


  • Helping businesses meet the costs of keeping their staff on their books throughout the coronavirus outbreak. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme allows firms to furlough workers, with the Government paying 80 per cent of employees’ salaries, up to £2,500 a month until the end July, at which point the scheme will continue until August but with employees asked to contribute towards some of the salary costs, alongside Government. The scheme has already supported 8.4 million jobs, at a value of £15 billion (HMT, News Story, 20 April 2020, link).


  • Launching the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, to ensure people who work for themselves are getting the support they need. The Government will pay self-employed people who have been adversely affected by coronavirus a grant worth 80 per cent of their average monthly profits over the last three years, up to £2,500 a month, for three months. A second grant is available covering March to August, available at 70 per cent of average monthly profits (HMT, News Story, 29 May 2020, link).


  • Making grants available for the industries and small businesses which have been hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak. We are providing grants of either £10,000 or £25,000 to businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors and which occupy properties with a rateable value of less than £51,000 (HMT/BEIS, News Story, 1 April 2020, link).


  • Offering a 12-month business rates holiday for sectors which are struggling with cashflow issues. All eligible businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, as well as nurseries, estate agents and bingo halls, will pay no businesses rates from 12 months, from 1 April 2020 (HMT, News Story, 17 March 2020, link).


  • Providing Bounce Back Loans to ensure businesses are able to get access to financial support as quickly as possible. Any smaller business experiencing financial difficulties because of coronavirus can apply for a loan of up to £50,000, which is 100 per cent guaranteed by Government for the first 12 months – during which time no repayments will need to be made. Loans reach bank accounts within days of an application being made. More than 1 million loans have now been approved, worth over £30 billion (HMT, News Story, 7 July 2020, link).


  • Setting up the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to help companies that need access to cash. Any viable business with a turnover of up to £45 million can apply for a loan of up to £5 million, and we have banned lenders from requesting personal guarantees for loans under £250,000. A Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme is also available to provide loans of up to £25 and 50 million for companies with a turnover above £45 million (HMT, News Story, 3 April 2020, link).