Recovering from the first Covid-19 lockdown: Economic impacts of the UK's Eat Out to Help out scheme

This report by the Centre for Economic Performance examines the impact of the UK’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme designed to boost the economy after the hospitality sector was particularly hard hit by the lockdown imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Date added 29 October 2021
Last updated 29 October 2021

This report by the Centre for Economic Performance examines the impact of the UK’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme designed to boost the economy after the hospitality sector was particularly hard hit by the lockdown imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The scheme offered a 50% discount from Monday to Wednesday, up to £10 per person, on food and non-alcoholic drinks consumed on the premises of participating businesses. By the end of September 2020, over 160 million meals had been claimed and the government had spent £849 million on the policy. The report proceeds with discussing how the scheme generated footfall by looking at Google mobility data, and employment by looking at daily data on job posts from Indeed UK.

Results show that the Eat Out to Help Out scheme increased footfall associated with recreational activities by approximately 5-6% between Monday and Wednesday when the discount was available. However, despite the success on these days, it did not drive footfall or encourage people to eat out after the scheme had ended.

The report did also find evidence of increased recruitment in the food preparation and service sector as a rise in the number of jobs advertised (by 7%-14%) on the Indeed website was identified. There was however no evidence of increased positions advertised in other sectors. However, the results cannot be sure the increased number job adverts resulted in actual increased employment.

The report concludes that further research is required to examine the overall cost-effectiveness of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme and other similar initiatives designed to boost demand and assisting in the economic recovery post COVID-19 lockdowns.