A NEW cut price dining scheme is already helping Winsford businesses to recover from lockdown.

The Government's Eat Out to Help Out scheme only started on Monday and offers diners 50 per cent discount on meals in restaurants, cafes and pubs.

The promotion runs all day Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday until August 31 and aims to boost the struggling hospitality industry.

Allan Aston, who runs Al's Place at Winsford Cross Shopping Centre, said: "We have been really busy. It is working out. We're selling bigger meals with it being half price. Hopefully as word gets around more people will come.

"Every little bit helps at the moment."

Al's fish and chip shop celebrates its third birthday tomorrow, Thursday, but the last few months have been difficult.

"Lockdown has been really hard," said Al, who employs 10 staff. "I only closed for five weeks because the bills were coming in. We reopened as a takeaway at the end of April and reopened the restaurant at the beginning of July.

"I couldn't afford to stay closed any longer."

The reduction in VAT from 20 per cent to five per cent has been welcomed by many businesses.

"It is helping us to recuperate a small proportion of the losses we've faced over the last five months," said Al. "We're still nowhere near pre lockdown trade but seeing regulars coming back surely but slowly is a nice boost."

The Brighton Belle pub beside the railway station in Middlewich Road has also attracted extra customers since the discount scheme started.

Manager Will Goodwin said: "We have seen an increase in sales. Families are coming out and spending a bit more. They are having two courses, a main and pudding, because of the extra money they're saving. They've really appreciated it."

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Winsford Guardian:

Families have been enjoying cut price meals at The Brighton Belle as part of the new Eat Out to Help Out scheme

Generating extra midweek income has been a welcome boost.

"Monday to Wednesday are usually quieter days," said Will. "People have been coming out in waves. Winsford is a small town. It's nice to see the community coming back together. We've enjoyed welcoming our regulars back. It's been nice, it's working well."

The discount is only available on food and soft drinks that are consumed on the premises and can be used as many times as you like.

There is no limit on how many people can use the discount in one party and it includes children.

People do not need a voucher to use the scheme.

The maximum discount available is £10 per person.

Food and drink will appear on the menu at full price and the restaurant will deduct the money off the bill and claim it back from the Government.