Belfast Telegraph

Brexit uncertainty a threat to small firms, warns British Kebab Awards founder

The founder of the British Kebab Awards has warned "uncertainty" caused by the Brexit vote is putting small businesses at risk.

Ibrahim Dogus said a global "current of divisive populism" was "turning people against each other" in comments in the programme for the industry's fifth annual awards in London on Sunday.

Mr Dogus wrote that as well as celebrating an industry with a Middle Eastern background that contributed some £2.8 billion to the UK economy annually, the awards were also to "celebrate the country that had accepted so many and those many who have not just adapted to this country but made it even greater".

He added: "However, we must also remember that we are living in difficult times. A current of divisive populism is sweeping the world, turning people against each other.

"A small-minded minority in this country felt empowered by the Brexit vote to turn against their neighbours.

"The uncertainty of the Brexit process is damaging our economy and putting our SMEs, so vital to our society, at great risk.

"It is in times like these that solidarity and celebrating what makes us who we are, are so important."

In a subsequent speech at the awards at the Park Plaza Hotel, Mr Dogus also highlighted "the places around the world which many of us feel an affinity with (that) have been struck by violence".

The awards were supported by politicians from across the political spectrum, with messages of support from Prime Minister Theresa May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn among others.

They brought together more than 1,000 business owners and politicians, with MPs including Labour's Barry Gardiner and Wes Streeting and Tory Ben Howlett on hand to give out some of the awards, compered by BBC Radio 1 DJs Scott Mills and Chris Stark.

Among the awards was kebab van of the year, which was won by Atalay, based in Thame, Oxfordshire.

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