Brexit could threaten the future of the British takeaway – The Independent

Brexit could threaten the future of the British takeaway – The Independent

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Brexit could threaten the future of the British takeaway sector if businesses are unable to recruit enough workers after the UK leaves the EU, a new lobby group has said.

Over a third of takeaway businesses believe that the industry’s current skills shortage will be made worse by Brexit, according to the British Takeaway Campaign, which launched on Monday.

The group is calling on the Government to support the sector, which it says is being squeezed by rising inflation and business rates.

Research from the campaign, co-founded by online platform Just Eat, showed takeaway restaurants contributed £4.5bn to UK GDP in 2016 and employed more than 230,000 workers.

The report demands that the Government enables the industry to access the skills it needs both from inside and outside the EU so it can address staff shortages.

Ibrahim Dogus, a restaurateur who chairs the campaign, said: “Takeaways up and down the country contribute billions to growth and are behind thousands of jobs. But many are being hamstrung by skills shortages, rising food and wage costs, as well as business rates. 

“While the Government’s move to clarify the status of EU nationals is a welcome step, more needs to be done to ensure takeaways can access the skills they need. That’s why we are calling for an immigration system that addresses areas of genuine skill shortage, rather than one that focuses on skill level alone.”

The report also calls on the Government to overhaul the current business rates regime.

Over a third of the 300 takeaways surveyed in the report say they are experiencing skills shortages, while 37 per cent believe Brexit will make it harder to recruit staff.

The takeaway sector is one of many industries that are concerned about worker recruitment after Brexit. Hotels, restaurants and cafes are also heavily reliant on EU labour and may face a skills gap if the UK Government pursues hard-line policies on immigration during Brexit negotiations.

In March, high-street chain Pret a Manger told a parliamentary committee that the company may struggle to attract staff once the UK leaves the EU, as just one in 50 of the applicants for jobs at the firm is British.

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