QUESTIONS have been raised over whether Soho Farmhouse should be included in the Eat Out to Help Out scheme.

The exclusive private members’ club in Chipping Norton is one of many businesses to take advantage of the Government scheme, which gives customers a discount on dining.

These restaurants, pubs and cafes can then claim that money back from the Government.

However, one resident, who wished to remain anonymous, has questioned whether such a luxurious club should be taking advantage of the scheme.

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She said: “Should Soho Farmhouse be included in this scheme, and have taxpayers supporting and subsidising a business that is a private members’ club?”

She added that the target audience of the club is the wealthy and that private members have plenty of disposable income, with a Soho House spokesperson confirming that a first year membership for the club costs £1,400 and £980 for under-27s.

The spokesperson added: “The Eat Out to Help Out scheme and the VAT rate cuts that we have passed on to our customers are designed for all hospitality businesses serving food and drink, to help the industry get back on its feet.

“It is widely acknowledged that the hospitality sector is a vital part of the economy and initiatives like this help get people back into venues and therefore help protect jobs.”

Oxford Mail:

The Eat Out to Help Out scheme is designed to drum up custom on quieter days of the week in order to build businesses back up.

Establishments eligible for the scheme are those where food is sold for ‘immediate on-premises consumption’.

Government guidance states this includes dining rooms within members’ clubs.

The scheme is solely for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, until August 31, with diners getting a 50 per cent discount on food or non-alcoholic drinks to eat or drink in.

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Soho Farmhouse came under fire earlier in the coronavirus pandemic when former employees accused the club of dismissing them due to ‘poor performance’.

One former worker claimed sixty members of staff were unfairly dismissed.

Soho Farmhouse is part of the Soho House chain, which has 10 UK locations.

Eight of these are in London, with Babington House in Somerset joining Soho Farmhouse as the only two outside the capital.

An eleventh UK club, 180 House, is set to join the chain and is again located in London.

Meghan Markle famously celebrated her hen do at Soho Farmhouse, and it was reported earlier in the year that her and Prince Harry were looking at building a house nearby.