IT'S the mouth-watering meal deal that aims to ensure families regain their appetite for dining out.

Eat Out to Help Out entitles customers to a 50% discount on food - up to a maximum of £10 per person - at businesses that sign up to the scheme.

Discounts are available on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays at a variety of eateries - including work canteens.

Now it has emerged that officers at Southampton Central police station are among those who are benefitting from the scheme, which aims to help the economy bounce back from the coronavirus lockdown.

The building is one of more than 72,000 venues across the country that are taking part in the initiative.

Police sites in Hampshire are managed by the office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), which appoints external suppliers for canteens.

Daily Echo:

A PCC spokesperson said: "These are located at the larger sites, including Southampton Central police station.

"The supplier currently contracted to provide food and beverage services there has registered for the scheme.

"It isn’t open to the public, only to police officers and staff. They'll be able to use the voucher on qualifying purchases while on shift or working at the station."

The scheme runs until August 31, with eateries able to claim the money back from the government.

Around 80% of hospitality firms stopped trading in April, with 1.4 million workers furloughed - the highest of any sector. Many venues have since reopened but have been forced to restrict customer numbers to comply with social distancing rules.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: "Our 'eat out to help out' scheme's number one aim is to help protect the jobs by boosting demand and getting customers through the door.

"The industry is a vital ingredient to our economy and it's been hit hard by coronavirus, so enjoy summer safely by showing your favourite places your support."