Jeff Prestridge  

Rishi Sunak to the rescue

Jeff Prestridge

Jeff Prestridge

This latter scheme will allow people next month to obtain discounts (limited to £10 per head) on sit-down meals in cafes, restaurants and pubs between the days of Monday and Wednesday.

A measure designed to kickstart the beleaguered hospitality sector – and of course to make all of us think nice things about Mr Sunak.

So, good news for the country, jobs and the economy? Yes.

It’s difficult to be hugely critical about the contents of Mr Sunak’s mini-Budget. You could argue that the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme is little more than a gimmick, and that there was little support for the reeling retail sector.

But if the measures prevent mass unemployment and give renewed job hopes to many youngsters, it will be money well spent.

For all Mr Sunak’s belief in the ‘nobility of work’ and our collective ‘fortitude and endurance’, there are elephants in the room. One is called Covid-19. If it flares up again (as some experts believe it will) and the economy is forced once more into lockdown, Mr Sunak’s generosity will count for little.

We will be back at square one and the economic fallout second time around could be cataclysmic.

The other ‘elephant’ is the government’s finances. At some stage, Mr Sunak will need to look at ways of paying for some of his confetti. This will inevitably mean new taxes and cuts in tax reliefs and tax breaks. We will probably find out more on this in November  when we get the full-blown Budget. It will not make for fun listening, that is for sure.

But what is key now is for the economy to steady itself and to move forwards, not backwards.

Fingers crossed. Stay safe and do not forget to take advantage of Eat Out to Help Out.

Jeff Prestridge is personal finance editor of The Mail on Sunday