Millionaire former Tory minister criticised for celebrating using taxpayers’ money to fund lunch date

Tory MP Jeremy Hunt posted a photo of himself a £56 lunch on the taxpayer; Jacob King

Tory MP Jeremy Hunt posted a photo of himself a £56 lunch on the taxpayer; Jacob King - Credit: PA

A former Tory minister, with a net worth of millions, has been criticised for a tweet which saw him celebrating using taxpayers' money to get a £50 discount on his lunch.

Former health minister Jeremy Hunt posted photos of him having lunch at a local pub in to promote the chancellor's 'Eat Out to Help Out' scheme.

In a bid to boost spending in Britain's hospitality sector, the Treasury launched a new voucher programme offering people £10 off a meal eaten inside a restaurant between Monday and Wednesday.

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The initiative is trying to encourage foodies to return to their favourite restaurants and help local businesses who have been struggling during the lockdown.

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But Hunt's latest PR stunt, which shows him basking in the sun after enjoying a meal at the lavish White Horse pub in Hascombe which cost the public £56 after the discount for five people had been deducted, has gone down spectacularly bad on Twitter after users were reminded his net worth is £14 million.

They quickly pointed to those in society that desperately need more financial support from taxpayers' money.

Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham blasted the move: 'Are we really saying we're all comfortable with giving the highest-paid £50 off their restaurant bills but not giving the lowest-paid any access to statutory sick pay nor help to self-isolate?

'Don't know about you but I'm not.'

Madeleina Kay wrote: 'This is exceptionally insensitive given the numbers of families forced to use food banks after a decade of Austerity... Perhaps not exceptional, but what you expect from a Tory!'

RD Hale explained that he was 'so broke' that his diet during lockdown has mostly consisted of tinned food and cereals. 'But at least the millionaire Tories are getting 50% off at their favourite restaurants,' he lamented.

Academic David K Smith accused Hunt of double standards. 'That's £50 of taxpayers money splashed on a nice meal in a fancy pub by people who could afford the full bill.

'Under 25s on Universal Credit have to live for a whole week on just £80 - the reason given for such meanness being 'taxpayers shouldn't support lavish lifestyles'.'

Meryl O'Rourke's outrage was more palpable: 'Jeremy Hunt is a millionaire. People are unemployed, living hand to mouth, depending on food packages - and a millionaire goes to an independent business to boast he got a £50 discount - paid back to the pub from our taxes.'

'Here's a Tory MP boasting about how much they can spend and save on a meal out when there are 4 million kids in poverty. Tory values,' Stephen Brown, a Labour supporter, wrote.

Translator @jclanoe added: 'So I paid for your meal (and your 4 mates) when my earnings since march have been zero? I see. No help whatsoever from gov..'

Dan Sohege intervened with a quasi-defence of Hunt's actions: 'Not to be 'that guy', but #EatOutToHelpOut may help struggling businesses and means testing it would be both costly and time consuming. That doesn't make Hunt boasting about getting £50 knocked off less galling when the government made such a fuss about free meals for kids.'

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