AN MP is encouraging people to go out and support local restaurants as part of the government’s new eating out scheme.

The public are urged to ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ with a new voucher scheme to encourage people to support local restaurants throughout August.

Pendle MP, Andrew Stephenson has welcomed the measures, which will see VAT for hospitality, accommodation and attraction businesses cut from 20 per cent to 5 per cent for six months.

Mr Stephenson said: “We should not underestimate how difficult recent months have been for many businesses in Pendle.

“Now that the virus is coming under control, we must turn our attention to creating and protecting jobs.

“I hope that everyone in Pendle will answer the call to Eat Out to Help Out.

“This fantastic new voucher scheme, along with the cut in VAT, is the much-needed lifeline many businesses have been calling for.

“Our plan for jobs will turn our national recovery into millions of stories of personal renewal.”

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced as part of his new mini budget that all diners can receive 50 per cent off their food bills at restaurants from Monday to Wednesday throughout August.

The move is designed to support the sectors which have been particularly hard hit by the coronavirus crisis, helping businesses to recover and boosting the number of jobs across the country.

Up to 370 businesses could stand to benefit from the measures in Pendle.

The Eat Out to Help Out scheme will entitle everyone to a discount of up to 50 per cent on their meal, up to a maximum of £10 per person.

Businesses can claim the money back from the government, which will be paid in five working days.

People in East Lancashire responded to a poll about whether the new initiative would encourage them to go out to restaurants.

From the responses it seemed people were divided over whether they would go out, with 27 people saying yes and 29 saying no.

Caroline Cox said: “I ate out yesterday and I'm being very careful, but it felt safe and a good thing to do for a lot of reasons.

“I'm not saying rush out but do some checks on some places, they're much safer than going to a lot of shops or supermarkets especially if you choose a quiet time.”