Eating out back on the menu as Britons venture out of the house

More than one-quarter of Britons went out to a cafe, restaurant or pub in the past week

Consumer confidence is picking up sharply as the economy reopens and consumers flock back to bars and restaurants, fuelling hopes of a swift "V-shaped" rebound for the collapsed economy.

Families are increasingly confident about their own financial position according to a survey by investment bank UBS, with its sentiment index returning to positive territory last month for the first time since February.

The public's views on the wider economic picture remain negative, but they have been gloomy for the past five years and the current position is not far below where it was a year ago.

Separate figures from the Office for National Statistics show that the proportion of Britons who left their homes last week rose to a post-lockdown high of 95pc - with almost one in three of them visiting a cafe, restaurant or pub.

That is up from just over one in five a week earlier, and from one in 10 in early July when the battered hospitality industry was first allowed to reopen.

Four in 10 respondents said they would be comfortable to eat indoors at a restaurant in the most recent figures, up from 27pc a month ago.

It follows the launch of Chancellor Rishi Sunak's "eat out to help out" scheme, which offers taxpayer-funded discounts of to £10 on meals and soft drinks at pubs, restaurants and cafes.

The figures will fuel hopes of a rapid recovery after GDP collapsed by 20.4pc in the three months to June, its steepest quarterly fall on record.

Meanwhile, unprecedented emergency support for businesses including state-backed loans, tax breaks and a pause on legal action by creditors appears to have helped cut the number of company insolvencies in July.

A total of 955 firms went bust in England and Wales last month, the Insolvency Service said, down one-third on the same month a year ago.

It came as official figures confirmed a previous estimate that the eurozone economy shrank by 12.1pc in the second quarter. Employment fell by 2.8pc.

Poland, which does not use the euro, contracted by 8.9pc in the three months to June, officially entering recession for the first time in three decades. The nation avoided the worst of the financial crisis, continuing to grow despite the global turmoil 11 years ago.

The continent’s economies have already started recovering and should keep growing into the third quarter of the year, though officials said the pandemic’s effects will linger for many years. Spiking infections in France, Spain and other countries could also threaten the recovery.

Germany’s economics ministry said: “The further economic upturn depends to a large extent on the course of the pandemic at home and abroad. 

“For this reason alone, after the first stronger revival in May and June, the further recovery process in the German economy will only progress slowly and take a long time to complete.”