There is no doubt that the government’s ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme comes with the best intentions. That, along with the VAT reduction, is designed to kickstart a sector in desperate need of help. Hospitality is on its arse. It’s the first place we were told not to go to, it’s the place we are now told we should visit with extreme caution. It’s the place that has all the stigma attached to it, even when it’s been okay to stand in supermarkets for the last four months, picking up and putting back down the same products. And this is without those who work within the industry generally having less furlough pay due to a deeply flawed TRONC system. But for all its good intentions there is little denying the scheme has more benefit to the chains with deep pockets and multiple locations across the breadth of the land. Already we are seeing the likes of Wetherspoons and McDonalds passing on a percentage of the VAT saving to the customer, when it’s designed to reduce costs. They have an unfair advantage. Look to the press and it’s the same chain names who are being lauded for joining the scheme; maybe because it’s lazy journalism, maybe because they hold more leverage. The independents of the West Midlands might as well not exist in the eyes of some local press.

They do exist. And they need your help. Make the most of the Monday to Wednesday offer of 50% off for your food and soft drinks to a maximum value of £10 per person. Don’t make Wednesday the new Saturday; make it another Saturday. Use this scheme to try new places, to support the fine independents we have and to show them you care. Below is a regularly updated list of independent businesses who are using the scheme, with not a chain in sight.

Craft. Wednesday only

Purecraft Bar and Kitchen. Tuesday-Wednesday

Harborne Kitchen. Tuesday – Wednesday.

Chakana. Wednesday only

Warwick Street Kitchen. Monday – Wednesday

Saint Kitchen. Monday – Wednesday

Little Blackwood. Wednesday only.

Pulperia. Wednesday only.

Opheem. Wednesday only.

Plough Harborne. Monday – Wednesday

Laghi’s Deli. Monday – Wednesday

Otto’s. Wednesday only.

Indian Streatery. Monday – Wednesday

1000 Trades. Tuesday – Wednesday.

Arch 13. Monday – Wednesday

Kuula Poke. Monday – Wednesday

Sabai Sabai. Locations vary for days

Adams. Tuesday and Wednesday

The Highfield. Monday – Wednesday

Damascena. Monday – Wednesday

Tiger Bites Pig. Wednesday only

Cherry Reds. Wednesday only

The Old Crown. Tuesday – Wednesday

The Wild Rabbit. Wednesday only.

Umami. Wednesday only.

Chung Ying. Monday – Wednesday

Cucina Rustica. Wednesday only

Pasta di Piazza. Wednesday only

Zen Metro. Monday – Wednesday

Loft Kitchen. Tuesday – Wednesday

Pinchuan. Monday – Wednesday

Topokki. Monday – Wednesday

Hot 7. Monday – Wednesday

Pepper Chef. Monday – Wednesday

Xiong Qi Hot Pot. Monday – Wednesday

Takumi. Monday – Wednesday

Ming Moon. Monday – Wednesday

We Shuang. Monday – Wednesday

Quarter Horse. Tuesday – Wednesday

No 1 Chinese Cafe. Monday – Wednesday

Ruga Bistro. Tuesday – Wednesday

Butlers Arms. Monday – Wednesday

The Dark Horse. Monday – Wednesday

Zindiya. Wednesday only

Land. Tuesday – Wednesday

La Plancha. Monday – Wednesday

Palmyra. Monday – Wednesday

Ponte Di Legno. Monday – Wednesday

Kababish. Monday – Wednesday

La Fibule. Monday – Wednesday

Tipu Sultan. Monday – Wednesday

Byzantium. Monday – Wednesday

Kitchen Garden Cafe. Monday – Wednesday

Purnells Bistro. Wednesday only

Sarehole Bakehouse Pizza. Wednesday only

Becketts Farm. Monday – Wednesday

Please let me know if you would like to be added to this list.