Diners used the Eat Out to Help Out scheme more than 10.5m times in its first week, the Treasury has said.

The average claim is close to £5, making the cost of the policy around £50m so far.

The Treasury said that 83,068 restaurants had signed up to the scheme.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “Britons are eating out to help out in big numbers.”

“And they aren’t just getting a great deal - they’re supporting the almost 2 million people employed in this sector.”

Under the scheme, the government pays for 50% of a meal at a participating pub or restaurant on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday.

The discount, which is due to run through August, is capped at £10.

HMRC said that, as of 9 August, it had received 10,540,394 claims under the scheme.

The scheme has also led to an increase in the number of people visiting High Streets across the country, according to Springboard, which measures footfall figures.

It said the number of people in retail destinations after 18:00 BST last Monday, the first day of the scheme, was 19% higher than the week before. Meanwhile lunchtime visits were up 10%.

However, visits to High Streets are still down significantly compared to the same time last year.