More than 35 million meals were claimed in the first two weeks of the ‘eat out to help out' scheme, according to new figures from HMRC.

As of 16 August, a total of £180 million had been claimed by restaurants offering discounts through the scheme.

The scheme offers a 50% discount on all food and non-alcoholic drinks which can be refunded to venues through the Government's website.

It covers up to a maximum of £10 per person and is available from Monday to Wednesday each week in August.

Although 85,147 restaurant premises are currently registered, only 48,000 claims have been made so far.

The Government is reminding registered businesses to submit their claims to receive payments for the discounts they offered.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said:

"With at least 35 million meals served up in the first two weeks alone, that is equivalent to over half of the UK taking part and supporting local jobs in the hospitality sector.

"To build back better we must protect as many jobs as possible, that is why I am urging all registered businesses to make the most of this by claiming back today - it's free, simple and pays out within five working days."

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