More than 64 million meals have been claimed by diners since the government launched the Eat Out to Help Out discount scheme at the start of August.

It has provided diners with a state-funded 50% discount on food and soft drinks between Mondays and Wednesdays, up to a maximum of £10 per person, for the whole month.

The Treasury said the outcome represents a continued “upward trend” in dining after 10.5 million meals were claimed in the first week, before climbing to a total of 35 million for the first two weeks.

It added that a total of 87,000 claims have been made by restaurants and cafes signed up to the scheme.

Pub and hospitality leaders have called on the Treasury to extend the scheme, which is coming to an end this week.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “Today’s figures continue to show that Brits are backing hospitality – with more than 64 million meals discounted so far, that’s equivalent to nearly every person in the country dining out to protect jobs.

“This scheme has reminded us how much we love to dine out, and in doing so, how this is helping to protect the jobs of nearly two million people who work in hospitality.

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“I am urging everyone, where they can, to continue to safely enjoy a meal while the scheme remains open.”

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HMRC said claims from the first two weeks of the scheme cost around £180 million.

David Page, co-chairman of Franco Manca owner Fulham Shore, said: “Eat Out to Help Out immediately increased our restaurant customer numbers by over 50%, thus enabling us to get all our staff back to work.

“In fact, we are now creating new jobs by hiring and training more people as fast as we can.”

Andy Laurillard, chief executive of Thai dining chain Giggling Squid, said: “As a result of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, we have managed to avoid making any redundancies and we no longer have any of our 950 staff on furlough.”