More than 95,000 meals were claimed throughout the Hexham constituency under the Government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme, according to the latest statistics.

In total, more than 100 million meals were claimed across the UK under the scheme, which ran throughout the month of August. In total, 84,700 establishments signed up to the scheme, including 125 in Tynedale and Ponteland

Hexham's MP Guy Opperman hailed the success of the scheme, which was designed to support the hospitality industry after a challenging few months because of coronavirus, a success as it was credited with protecting 1.8 million jobs across the country, with restaurant bookings significantly up on the previous year.

Data from OpenTable showed bookings increased by an average of 52 per cent on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout the whole of August, compared to the same days in 2019.

Eat Out to Help Out was just one part of the Government’s Plan for Jobs – a £30bn strategy to create, protect and support jobs as the country bounces back from coronavirus. The Government will continue to support the hospitality industry with a temporary discount to VAT, from 20 per cent to 5 per cent, until 12 January 2021.

Mr Opperman said: ‘I am absolutely thrilled at the level of support local people in Tynedale and Ponteland have provided to our brilliant pubs, restaurants and hospitality businesses."

He added: "Eat Out to Help Out was always about far more than just giving people money off their meals – it was about protecting jobs which are reliant on businesses which have really struggled through coronavirus, and I hope local people will continue to support them in the months ahead."