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Moray diners flock to Eat Out to Help Out initiative


By Alan Beresford

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NEARLY 90,000 diners across Moray helped themselves to a discounted meal last month thanks to the Eat Out to Help Out scheme.

Moray MP Douglas Ross helps the Eat Out to Help Out initiative at Forres' Ramnee Hotel as he serves Hayley Kenna (left) and Heather Anderson (right) their food. Picture: Daniel Forsyth
Moray MP Douglas Ross helps the Eat Out to Help Out initiative at Forres' Ramnee Hotel as he serves Hayley Kenna (left) and Heather Anderson (right) their food. Picture: Daniel Forsyth

The scheme, which was launched to try and stimulate trade for the hospitality sector which had been severely hit by the Covid-19 lockdown, offered a 50 per cent discount on food at participating venues Monday to Wednesday during August. The discount had a maximum value of £10 per person.

With the initiative now ended, figures released by HMRC show that Moray diners responded in their droves, with a total of 85,000 meals were claimed under Eat Out to Help Out. This amounts to a combined discount of £489,000 or an average discount of £5.78 per meal.

In the neighbouring Banff and Buchan parliamentary constituency, 66,000 meals were claimed representing £397,000 in discounts or £6.13 per meal.

Meanwhile, in Gordon, 29,000 covers were registered totalling £171,000 or £5.79 a meal.

Welcoming the statistics, Moray's Conservative MP Douglas Ross said: “Rishi Sunak’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme has been a tremendous success across the UK – and I am delighted to see so many people took advantage of the offer here in Moray.

“The discount deal brought many more people through the doors of local restaurants and cafes that were struggling due to the pandemic.

“This will have protected jobs and provided a very welcome boost to business owners in the hospitality sector here in Moray, as well as saving customers some money.

“It is just one of the measures introduced by the UK government to support the nation through the Coronavirus crisis. A third of all jobs in Scotland have also been protected through the HMRC furlough scheme, while the self-employed have also been supported to the tune of £459 million and businesses have benefited from grants and loans.

“All of this proves the value of the four nations of the UK pooling together to get through this crisis.”

Highlands and Islands Conservative MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston said: “It’s not surprising that there has been such an enthusiastic take-up here in Moray.

“Moray has a fantastic hospitality sector, with so many great cafes, restaurants, hotels and other places to enjoy a meal.

“I am sure that local people who have taken advantage of the UK Government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme will be pleased to know they have made a real difference in supporting local businesses get through a very challenging period.”

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