Eating out, dying out?

In the Herald, today:

Scotland’s leading retail association has demanded a firm Scottish Government commitment to an ‘eat out to help out’ style voucher scheme to help struggling shops survive Covid crisis.

The report goes on at some length to back the idea with several business leaders lined up to offer a supportive quote.

As soon as I saw it, I remembered somethings:

Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme drove new COVID-19 infections up by between 8 and 17%, new research finds.

Friday 30 Oct 2020

The government initiative, which cost around £500 million, caused a significant rise in new infections in August and early September accelerating the pandemic into its current second wave. The economic benefits of the scheme, meanwhile, were short-lived. In a new paper, ‘Subsidizing the spread of COVID-19: Evidence from the UK’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme’, Dr Thiemo Fetzer of the CAGE Research Centre in the Economics Department at the University of Warwick analyses the causal impact of ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ on COVID-19 infections. Key findings are:

· Participating restaurants saw an increase in visits of between 10 and 200% compared to 2019.

· Areas with a higher rate of uptake (both from restaurants and consumers) experienced a sharp increase in the emergence of new COVID-19 infection clusters a week after the scheme began.

· Between 8 and 17% of the newly detected COVID-19 infection clusters can be attributed to the scheme.

· Areas with high uptake saw a decline in new infections a week after the scheme ended.

· As the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme ended, visits to restaurants started to decline – indicating that its positive economic impact was short-lived.

Then there was this:

Covid-19 has swept through three streets in southern Bradford causing at least two deaths this month and leaving others in hospital. It’s an outbreak that many think grew out of Eat Out to Help Out, and one that a local authority neighbourhood testing scheme is trying to control, as Dr John Wright of Bradford Royal Infirmary explains. “I was good at science and have a degree in science but I didn’t take Covid seriously at the beginning,” says Abdul Majid. “I used to laugh. I thought there was no such thing. I laughed at it and now it’s laughing at me. It’s heartbreaking.” Abdul Majid’s father, Abdul Saboor, is in intensive care with Covid-19. His uncle, Nawab Ali, died on 17 October, at the age of 61.

64 million people took advantage of the scheme. That worry anyone?

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9 thoughts on “Eating out, dying out?

  1. Where do you draw the line?

    The SG budget is fixed. If you spend money in one place you must cut other sectors. It is not an investment. It gives no return to the tax payer or SG. I could argue that I am helping to pay for an irresponsible persons night out.
    Will we have 10p off a pint or a coffee to help pubs and coffee shops?
    1 Pound of CDs and Books to help those outlets?
    10 Pound of curtains and soft furnishings?

    “You must help me! ” Demands tend to exclude others in the same predicament and they certainly don’t consider the health risk.


  2. Return customers no longer an important business strategy or are they taking advice from the tobacco industry?


    1. Dinosaurs
      The meteorite has impacted. In the form of the virus,no longer is there a sustainable form of business as usual
      Get creative adapt and survive and shape the new world

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I hope the next Scottish Government does not yield to this demand. The economic case for such a scheme is highly dubious at this time. At least it is if the following analyses are correct.


    “… latest data from consultants PwC’s Consumer Sentiment Index shows that consumer confidence is now at its highest level since the tracking of the data began in 2008.

    ‘PwC says the figures show there are consumers with more disposable income and “a pent up demand to spend after a year of lockdown restrictions”.

    ‘The consultants added that it saw a “never before seen” jump in leisure-spending intentions, rising from -7% to -16% in February, to a positive 25-32% in April. Forced savings during lockdown have led to record levels of optimism and a number of ‘firsts’ such as all regions being positive since we started the survey in 2008,” said PwC’s consumer markets lead Lisa Hooker. “Consumers have missed their favourite activities such as shopping, eating out and going on holiday and so there is ample opportunity, over the spring and into the summer, for operators to maximise this appetite to spend”.’

    BBC News website on 12 February had this headline: “UK economy poised like a coiled spring, says Bank economist”. It told us:

    ‘The UK economy is like a “coiled spring” ready to release large amounts of “pent-up financial energy”, the Bank of England’s chief economist has said. … He is the latest economist to forecast a sharp rebound in growth after an expected easing of restrictions.”

    So what is the need for a public subsidy of this sort at this time – what would be the net additional business and economic benefit – if these forecasts are sound?

    Of course not all of us will have been able to build up ‘financial energy’ ready to go on a spending spree. Far from it. I’m more impressed by a government that enables the freezing of council tax in difficult times; increases child support payments to least well off families; extends free meals for children; does what it can to make income tax more progressive etc. etc.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What the Herald needs is bankruptcy
    To put it out of its misery
    The miserable sods that sit and write this stuff and the idiotic fools who support it
    Should be pilloried and shamed so that everyone can see their despicable greedy money grabbing behaviours willing to kill people to get a little bit of extra business.

    If i could meet them face to face i would love the opportunity to let them have it
    they hide in their wee darkened rooms spilling this nonsense to us every day obviously without a conscience.


  5. More on how international law works in relation to the precautionary principle. Which should also inform the debate re. women’s right to a defensible legal identity and single-sex spaces.



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