Rishi Sunak will need to give other industries their own versions of Eat Out to Help Out: The Yorkshire Post says

Bleak figures showing around 730,000 British workers have been removed from payrolls since the coronavirus lockdown began are unfortunately likely to be a precursor to far worse unemployment figures this autumn as the Government’s furlough scheme comes to an end.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak bumps elbows with an employee in a cafe during a visit to Rothesay on the Isle of Bute, Scotland. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/PA Wire

Around 9.6 million of people have been put on government-supported furlough at some point since March, but the policy finishes in October. Chancellor Rishi Sunak is coming under growing pressure to extend that furlough scheme for some of the industries least able to restart work as before, but he has said that the “extraordinary intervention” which has seen the Government step in to pay people’s wages must come to an end after eight months.

If he holds true to that stance, the Treasury will undoubtedly have to come up with further measures to minimise severe job losses. One such example of an inventive policy paying dividends is Mr Sunak’s Eat Out To Help Out policy offering cut-price restaurant meals during August.

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Diners ate more than 10 million meals under the programme last week, helping 83,000 restaurants attract guests they may well not have had otherwise. The scheme is both boosting revenue in the short-term and more importantly in the long-term helping to restore public confidence in the idea of going out for a meal.

However, the policy alone will not be enough to guarantee the jobs of people who work in the hospitality sector – and further, more complex, challenges lie ahead should local lockdowns involving the temporary closure of some businesses become more commonplace during the winter. With furlough and Eat Out to Help Out, the Government has bluntly but wisely applied wide-ranging measures to prop up the national economy. The next phase of the fight against Covid will require a more nuanced approach.

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