Figures released this morning (16 September) by The Office for National Statistics (ONS) show consumer prices rose by just 0.2% year-on-year in August as the discount meal scheme drove down the cost of living.
The reduction in VAT from 20% to 5% on the hospitality sector also contributed to the fall in prices.
It marks the lowest inflation rate since December 2015, and a sharp fall on July’s inflation rate of 1.1%.
According to the ONS data, prices across UK hotels and restaurants were 2.8% lower than a year ago in August; the first negative inflation reading across the sector since at least 1989.
"The cost of dining out fell significantly in August thanks to the Eat Out to Help Out scheme and VAT cut, leading to one of the largest falls in the annual inflation rate in recent years,” says Jonathan Athow, ONS deputy national statistician for economic statistics.
Other smaller downward contributions came from falling air fares and clothing prices rising by less between July and August 2020 than between the same two months a year ago.
More than 100 million meals were claimed by diners in August under EOHO, which offered eat-in customers a 50% discount up to £10 per person on all food and non-alcoholic drinks between Mondays and Wednesdays throughout August.