The Chancellor’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme had a limited effect on the UK’s restaurants and cafés, according to new research from the London School of Economics.

The Recovering from the first COVID-19 lockdown: Economic impacts of the UK’s Eat Out to Help Out report, found that rises in visitor numbers and job vacancies in hospitality were concentrated and temporary, and had no knock-on benefits to other areas of the economy.

In comparing how the rates of take-up differed across the country, the report found that a 1% uptake of the scheme by businesses in any particular area increased the number of visitors to restaurants, pubs and cafes by 0.23% in August.

Overall, the scheme increased the number of visitors by 5-6% across the country during the month, but rates soon dropped once the scheme had finished, researchers said.

Similarly, a 1% uptake of the scheme increased the number of adverts for jobs in the sector by 0.56%, and the overall number of jobs in restaurants and cafes rose by between 7% and 14% in the period, but this affect only lasted until the end of September.

A lack of data meant the report could not verify whether the increased demand for workers had led to more people actually being hired, and whether the jobs were therefore permanent.

“While we find that the EOTHO programme increased visits to food establishments, this effect was concentrated on days when the discount was available- Mondays to Wednesdays in August,” said report co-author Nicolás González-Pampillón. “It failed to encourage people to go out for other purposes or to eat out after the discount ended.”

In conflict to the findings, that attitude of many operators in the sector suggests the scheme was beneficial, leading to calls for its return post-lockdown.

According to last week’s Hospitality Leaders Poll, a majority of hospitality leaders (62%) would support a return of the scheme in coming months, and 85% said they believe the public would also support it.

By the end of September 2020, £849 million had been claimed through the scheme, providing discounts for over 160 million meals in August.