by Mo Metcalf Fisher

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has today announced a series of measures in his Summer Statement in a bid to help the UK economy recover from the negative effects of Covid-19.

Among the new measures to be introduced, the Chancellor has unveiled a 50% discount for diners to increase demand, as well as a big VAT cut for the hospitality and tourism sectors.

Listen: Our Head of Policy, Sarah Lee, spoke to Farming Today. She welcomed the cut in VAT which will go a long way to help rural business, but she urged the Government to consider extending the reduction for longer. From 10 minutes 53 seconds in.

On top of this, VAT on food, non-alcoholic drinks, accommodation and attractions has been cut from 20% to 5%, which Mr Sunak says will give a £4bn boost for the industry.

Every diner will be given an "eat out to help out" discount. Meals eaten at those businesses partaking in the scheme will get 50%  off at up to £10 per head, Monday to Wednesday during August.

Sarah Lee, Head of Policy at the Countryside Alliance said: ‘Today the Chancellor announced a £30 billion support package, with specific measures to help the countryside.

‘The Government has listened to the concerns of the countryside, and have announced a VAT cut from 20 per cent to 5 per cent, as well as an ‘eat out to help out’ support scheme, the first in history. Measures announced today will help the rural economy, in which tourism plays a central and core role.

‘The Chancellor has listened to calls from the Countryside Alliance that if the countryside is to open, it must be able to fully open. At a time when so many in rural and coastal areas have felt incredibly anxious about the future of their business, these announcements make it possible for businesses to open and welcome all those visiting our beautiful countryside and coastal areas.’

‘We must now ensure that local authorities, particularly those that thrive off the back of visiting tourists, get on board and encourage people to visit’.

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