Alok Sharma Simon Case Matt Hancock UPS BLOCK Alok Sharma Simon Case Matt Hancock

Matt Hancock ridiculed Sunak’s ‘eat out to help out’ scheme, messages show

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Matt Hancock expressed disdain for Rishi Sunak’s flagship Treasury initiative, “eat out to help out”, during the Covid pandemic, according to the latest cache of leaked WhatsApp messages.The messages show the then health secretary also attempting to get the support of the then cabinet secretary, Simon Case, in challenging the stance of Sunak, who was the chancellor, and others over some pandemic-era rules.Case – who is required to be politically neutral – complained about “pure Conservative ideology” on the part of one senior minister.The messages, published by the Daily Telegraph, suggest Hancock had concerns about the Treasury scheme designed to support restaurants, dubbing it the “eat out to help the virus get about”.The “eat out to help out” initiative, implemented in August 2020, offered customers a 50% discount, up to £10, on meals and soft drinks on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays as businesses sought to recover from the pandemic.Hancock wrote in a message to Case: “Just want to let you know directly that we have had lots of feedback that Eat Out to Help Out is causing problems in our jntervention [sic] areas.

I’ve kept it out of the news but it’s serious.“So please please lets not allow the economic success of the scheme to lead to its extension.”An earlier exchange of messages, from June 2020, came as the government considered how to relax restrictions.

The messages show that Hancock wanted cafes and restaurants to keep a register of customers’ details for NHS Test and trace, urging that guidance would read “should” as opposed to “can”.The latter phrasing, according to the messages, was preferred by then business secretary, Sir Alok Sharma.“The language on customer logs has just gone from ‘should’ to ‘can’.

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