The Eat Out to Help Out scheme could end up being the government’s most effective crisis policy, the Centre for Economics and Business Research has said.

Citing data from restaurant booking app Open Table, CEBR has estimated that shops, pubs and restaurants in London will lose out on approximately £178 million in sales this month, a considerable improvement on the £600 million sales drop in July.

It has said that the Eat Out to Help Out scheme is at least “partially responsible” for the improvement, having significantly increased the number of people eating out Monday to Wednesday, with visits currently 26.9% higher than on the same days last year.

The scheme also seems to be having an impact on seven-day trade, as numbers in the first full week of August were down by only 7.1% year-on-year, compared with a 28.2% decline the week before Eat Out to Help Out came into force.

“The goal isn’t just for people to eat in restaurants, but also to get back into the habit of socialising, making non-essential journeys and being surrounded, albeit not too closely, by groups of strangers,” said Nina Skero, CEBR CEO. “It is arguably this push towards normality that will prove the biggest benefit of the scheme.”