MP COLUMN: We all have a part to play in helping get our restaurants and pubs back on their feet

With Parliament now in recess, I have thoroughly enjoyed being able to resume my visits across the constituency. Last week I had the pleasure of chatting to the owners and staff of many independent stores – including the Ide Hill Community Store, Courtyard Antiques in Brasted, and Batchelors Butchers in Riverhead. It was great to see how they have made their shops safe for customers to return.

As part of these visits, it has also been wonderful to hear how many local businesses and entrepreneurs have benefitted from the Government’s financial measures. This additional support has ensured that many have been able to continue to keep their doors open to customers and I hope this week’s launch of Eat Out to Help Out will provide a similar boost to the hospitality sector.

Initially announced by the Chancellor as part of his Summer Statement, the scheme gives everyone across Sevenoaks and Swanley up to 50 per cent off their bills in participating restaurants, cafes and pubs. The scheme will run every Monday to Wednesday throughout August and applies to all food and non-alcoholic drinks, with a maximum discount of £10 per person. 

A programme of this scale has never been done in this country before and forms part of the Government’s Plan for Jobs, which will spur the economic recovery from coronavirus.

From speaking with local restaurants, I am delighted to see so many restaurants and pubs across the constituency participating and I know many have already seen a boost in bookings – which is fantastic news!

I know some of you may still have reservations about the safety of visiting restaurants and pubs. However, the measures that have been put in place are designed to keep everyone safe. The latest data from Public Health England (published on 2nd August) shows that the Sevenoaks District continues to have the lowest infection rate in Kent, and in fact infections have remained constant at 3.3 new cases per 100,000 people. We can’t, and won’t, be complacent. However, the figures clearly show that by staying alert and controlling the virus, it is possible to enjoy summer safely.

We all have a part to play in helping get our restaurants and pubs back on their feet. If you have not already, I urge you all to visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/get-a-discount-with-the-eat-out-to-help-out-scheme, where you can find details of your local participating restaurants.

As ever, if I can provide any assistance or further information on the above, please email me at laura.trott.mp@parliament.uk.