Belfast Telegraph

Sizzling takeaways sector 'threatened by skilled workers shortage'

The growing success of takeaway restaurants is being threatened by a shortage of skilled workers, coupled with rising inflation and business rates, a new report warns.

A campaign launched by the industry is calling on the Government to overhaul business rates, make sure the immigration system enables firms to access suitably qualified staff from the EU and address skills shortages in cuisines like curry, sushi, Chinese and fish frying.

The British Takeaway Campaign published research showing that takeaway restaurants contributed £4.5 billion to economic output last year and employs over 230,000 workers.

Graham Corfield, managing director at Just Eat, which co-founded the campaign said: "Everyone loves their local takeaway, but few would realise these small, often family-run businesses, are behind so much of the UK's economic growth.

"British consumers are now increasingly enjoying North African and Middle Eastern takeaways - with orders for Syrian food increasing ten-fold since 2014.

"That's alongside firm favourites like Italian, Chinese and Indian, and all at the touch of a button. This report shows that with the right policies from the Government, the takeaway sector can continue to thrive."

Restaurateur Ibrahim Dogus, who chairs the campaign, added: "The takeaway industry has transformed the high street and the British palate - from fish and chips to the latest fusion food.

"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.

"We want to get more young British people fired up about working in this exciting industry by ensuring they get the right training to build successful careers in the sector.

"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."

Research for Just Eat showed that the most popular takeaway choices were Italian/pizza, Chinese, Indian, kebabs, chicken and fish and chips.

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