In his summer statement yesterday, Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled an unprecedented level of employment support to assist the country's economic recovery from coronavirus.

Among the measures announced was a slash in VAT for the hospitality and tourism sectors ­— a 15 per cent reduction for food outlets, accommodation providers and attractions.

Effective from next Wednesday (July 15), it covers food, accommodation and attractions, but will not apply to alcohol.

In the wake of the news, the County Press has been talking to business owners in the hospitality sector to gauge the impact.

"We're probably going to do some midweek deals, just to help people spend in our direction," said Pete Booth of the Travellers Joy, in Northwood.

"We might do a couple of two-for-ones ­— we're going to look through our menu and try to decide on what we're going to do.

"It's exciting times, potentially ­— if it's encouraging people to get out and about again, and at quieter times in the day ­— Monday and Tuesday lunchtime is normally pretty quiet."

Asked what measures the government could take to further boost the hospitality industry, Pete suggested an extension to the 'eat out to help out' scheme.

The new policy will mean meals eaten at any participating business from Monday to Wednesday during August will be 50 per cent cheaper, up to a maximum discount of £10 per head.

Read more here.

"August time is still summer holidays, so the tourist trade is still there to a degree," said Pete.

"But if it was to be extended into the winter months, when everything dies off and goes really quiet, you'd get locals taking advantage of that offer, which would help.

"It's not been busy, but it's been steady here.

IW CAMRA chairman John Nicholson said: "It's a very brave move­ and it should be a real boost to the industry.

"It's a green flag for people to go out. What we need now, really, is for the large pubcos to also match it somehow.

"We all know the way they charge on their premisses, and in many cases, the poor landlord barely scrapes a living.

"I think they really have to prick their social conscience and do something to help get the wheels moving again.

"We were very successful on the Island at stopping the spread of the virus because everybody bought into it.

"What we now need is for all these pubcos to start helping.

"I'm in business myself, I'm not against anyone making a fair profit, but not profiteering.

"You still hear stories of pubcos that have merely deferred the rent while the pubs are shut down.

"They might have a business clause that allows them to do that, but is that morally right?

"It's greed. We've all got to work on this together."

While the announcements may be music to the ears of most, some businesses might see little to no benefit.

Among those is Graham Perks, of The Volunteer and Perks of Ventnor, who says the measures won't do his businesses all that much good.

The Volunteer doesn't serve food, and Perks of Ventnor won't be serving for two or three weeks.

"Anybody that doesn't serve food isn't going to really benefit from any of it," said Graham.

"Some landlords will use it to try to recoup some of their losses.

"I think it'll be survival of the fittest come winter.

"It's tricky times for all pubs ­— you struggle to earn a living now.

"You get up in the morning, and you think 'am I going to make any money today?'"

"The government and councils have ripped off the license trade for years.

"It's coming home to roost now, because so many are closing, and every time one goes they say 30 jobs are lost.

"In England, it's got too expensive to go out for the night.

"If you're taking your partner out for the night, you need £100 in your back pocket.

"Whatever the government does is a help, but there's still going to be loads of pubs closing, I think."

Will Myles, managing director at Visit Isle of Wight said: "I welcome the announcement. I've been working with our MP, Bob Seely, and hospitality businesses on this very issue, and we wrote to the tourism minister a month ago pushing for this change.

"While it is for a period of six months, I would hope and push for it to be extended to include 2021, which would assist our Island businesses even more when they need it most."