Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr programme on Sunday Prime Minister Boris Johnson admitted that the Eat Out TO Help Out scheme could have helped to fuel the rise in coronavirus cases.
However, despite the spike that the UK has seen and with almost 13,000 cases recorded on Saturday, Johnson insists it was vital to save “hundreds of thousands of jobs.”
The Prime Minister said the government was trying to “strike a balance” between the economy and protecting public health.
Marr told Johnson that the Eat Out scheme has appeared to have added to the surge in coronavirus cases across the UK which has led to a third of the UK being in some sort of varying lockdown.
Johnson told Marr on Sunday, “I think it was right to reopen the economy. I think if we hadn’t done that Andrew, if we hadn’t got things moving again in the summer, I mean we would be looking at many more hundreds of thousands of jobs lost.”
Marr pressed Johnson again, he replied with, “I also think, I also think that it is important now, irrespective of whether Eat Out To Help Out you know, what the balance of there was, it unquestionably helped to protect many… there are 2m jobs at least in the hospitality sector.
“It was very important to keep those jobs going. Now, if it, insofar as that scheme may have helped to spread the virus, then obviously we need to counteract that and we need to counteract that with the discipline and the measures that we’re proposing.
“I hope you understand the balance we’re trying to strike.”
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