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NEWS & VIEWS SPICE BUSINES S


RESTAURANT owners in Cheltenham have called on the Government to loosen its immigration policy to address what is being described as a ‘curry crisis’ for businesses in the town. An inability to employ workers from India and other parts of


Asia means the quality of food and customer service is being put in jeopardy it is claimed, Some owners are reported to be having to work seven days a week and are restricting opening hours as a result of the problem. Mannan Abdul, chief executive of the Brasserie Group which owns seven restaurants in the area, says: “It’s very difficult to find qualified staff in this country and, when you do, demand for them is so high.” Mr Abdul added that many places were now having to rely on unqualified waiters or second or third chefs that, due to lack of choice, had been promoted to head chefs. Alawor Siddique, owner of Kings Tandoori and Balti in Charlton Kings, has echoed the concerns. He said the restaurant was having to reduce its opening hours as a direct result of the Government’s policy.


The stories from Cheltenham


are the latest evidence that curry chef shortages are leading to an increasing number of closures among restaurants right across Britain. Regions such as Gloucestershire are amongst the worst hit, as there is a shortage of Asian locals and residents available to apply for the jobs. Under the Government’s


points-based system, most migrants must pass a points assessment before they can get permission to work in the UK. Businesses that want to


take on staff from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland need to sponsor them, apart from highly-skilled workers, such as scientists and entrepreneurs. n


CURRY FANS DINE AND DONATE


ONGAR’S Spice Masala recently held a ‘dine and donate’ event in partnership with the Helen Rollason Cancer Charity. Lauren Levy, junior fundraiser at the charity, said: “The event was enjoyed by everyone and they donated so much. It was amazing how much food the restaurant put out for us.” Owner of the Indian restaurant, Syed Zakir Hussein, said,


”We had about 160 people turn up and they all had curry for free. We managed to raise over £1000 for the charity, which is great as they need the money.” n


www.spicebusiness.co.uk


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