UK government subsidises 35 million restaurant meals

Britain's government said it had subsidised more than 35 million restaurant meals over the past two weeks as part of a temporary programme to encourage diners to support the hospitality industry as it reopened after the coronavirus pandemic.

LONDON, Aug 18 (Reuters) - Britain's government said it had subsidised more than 35 million restaurant meals over the past two weeks as part of a temporary programme to encourage diners to support the hospitality industry as it reopened after the coronavirus pandemic.

Under the "Eat Out to Help Out" programme, restaurants, pubs and cafes can discount food prices by 50%, up to 10 pounds ($13) per diner, with the government paying the difference.

The discount applies on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays in August.

Around 80% of hospitality firms stopped trading in April, with 1.4 million workers furloughed, the highest of any sector, the finance ministry said.

The sector began to reopen to diners in England on July 4.

(Reporting by Sarah Young, writing by David Milliken; editing by Stephen Addison)

((david.milliken@reuters.com; +44 20 7542 5109; Reuters Messaging: david.milliken.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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