With the Eat Out to Help Out scheme in its final full week, the Federation of Small Businesses is calling on the Government to continue and extend the initiative to further help thousands of small food and drink businesses right across the country.
Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) National Chair Mike Cherry said, “The Eat Out to Help Out scheme has been an overwhelming success in getting people back on their high streets and in their town centres. We now need to see it extended to continue the critical support that it is providing for small firms as we enter a period of economic make or break.
“Over the past few weeks, the scheme has been hugely welcomed by small businesses and their customers alike. A nationwide one-month extension would go some way to helping many firms which are still only just about managing in this time of crisis.
“More than 35 million meals have been cooked and dished out across almost 50,000 restaurants and cafés who have been able to reap the rewards of this great initiative but as we enter September with schools reopening and more people going back to their places of work there are still strong merits to continuing this for one more month.
“Additional support is still needed for certain groups in the leisure sector, especially pubs. We need to see these community hubs fully brought into the Eat Out to Help Out fold, particularly as they have been excluded from the recent VAT cut for food.
“Beyond September, the scheme should be reactivated in areas that have gone through local restrictions or lockdowns. It’s vital that we continue to offer as much support as possible in areas where restrictions have been reintroduced – this would be a great way of doing just that.
“As we head into the winter and New Year, the Government should be conscious of the fact that this scheme is one that genuinely works in helping to get people out into small businesses. The option of reintroducing it should the economy begin to stall should be front of mind.
“These remain difficult times for the small business community, with the stress and strains of this crisis continuing to be felt. That’s why we urge everyone to show support for their favourite small firms at every opportunity.
“We must do all we can to safeguard the futures of the small firms that make up 99% of our small business community. They will be pivotal to our recovery from this recession.”