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More than 10.5 million diners claim half-price meals in…

British diners ate more than 10 million meals last week as part of a new Government plan to boost the UK’s restaurants after months of lockdown.

The Treasury said it had been sent 10,540,394 claims for individual meals from restaurants as part of the Eat Out to Help Out programme.

The policy gives diners 50% off their meal, up to a maximum of £10 per person, which is covered by the government.

If two people eat out together, they count as two individual meals in the statistics.

It means that a maximum of £105.4 million can have been claimed in the first week of the scheme, which runs on every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in August.

The Treasury has put aside £500 million to pay for the programme.

The around 83,000 restaurants that have signed up to the Eat Out scheme so far take off 50% of a customer’s bill at the till and are reimbursed by the Treasury.

“Britons are eating out to help out in big numbers. And they aren’t just getting a great deal – they’re supporting the almost two million people employed in this sector,” said Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

“These amazing figures show that our plan for jobs is delivering.”

The scheme will run for every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in August.

Food delivery is not included.

The Treasury did not say how much the receipts it had been sent were claiming back or how many meals are normally sold during the first three days of the week.

Figures out on Monday from Springboard and finance app Yolt seemed to suggest the number of people eating out had risen by around a fifth at the start of last week.

But Springboard said its measure, of the number of people visiting retail hotspots at dinner time, was around half of where it was this time last year.

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