NI diners saved £16m eating 2.8 million meals under Eat Out scheme

HMRC said that as of August 27, 2,789,000 meals have been claimed in the north.
Ryan McAleer

DINERS in Northern Ireland saved £16 million eating 2.8 million meals via the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, according to HMRC.

The figures published on Friday state that 2,207 outlets in Northern Ireland signed up to the UK Government initiative, that offered up to £10 discount per head on food and non-alcoholic drinks during the month of August.

However, that figure does not include businesses with more than 26 outlets, such as fast food chains like McDonalds, which has 31 restaurants in the north.

HMRC said that as of August 27, 2,789,000 meals have been claimed in Northern Ireland, with £16,146,000 claimed.

It averaged out at £5.79 per meal.

Some 987,000 meals were claimed in Belfast, with South Belfast diners saving £2.3m, followed by West Belfast (£1.9m) and East Derry (£1.3m).

The figure will likely climb higher, as businesses have until September 30 to make a claim.

A number of restaurants and food chains have already signalled plans to run their own version of the Eat Out scheme during September.

Reacting to the HMRC figures, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Brandon Lewis said: "The UK-wide Eat Out to Help Out scheme has been a fantastic initiative for Northern Ireland. Throughout the length of the scheme 2.7million meals were served, saving diners in Northern Ireland a staggering £16million.

“Such UK Government intervention has been vital in protecting hospitality jobs in Northern Ireland and boosting its economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

“The sector is crucial to many livelihoods in NI with 60,000 jobs sustained by the sector, contributing over £1.1billion to the local economy annually."

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