Hartlepool restaurant chief calls for Government action on chronic hospitality staff shortage

A Hartlepool hospitality chief is calling on the Government to act over a serious shortage of staff in the industry.

Thursday, 7th October 2021, 4:45 am
Updated Friday, 8th October 2021, 4:58 pm

Darab Rezai, chairman of the Hartlepool Licencees Association, who runs a number of restaurants in the town, says businesses cannot operate fully due to insufficient kitchen and front of house staff.

He says some are opening on a limited capacity.

He added he has had difficulty finding staff in order to try to reopen Italian restaurant Marco Polo in York Road which he is landlord of.

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Darab Rezai outside Marco Polo restaurant which is temporarily closed due to staff shortages in the hospitality industry.

Mr Rezai said the situation has got worse since Brexit came into effect.

He is calling on the Government to provide incentives to tackle the shortages he said is affecting Hartlepool and towns and cities around the UK.

Mr Rezai said: “Hospitality has been suffering from a long time. Venues cannot function properly.

"We all supported Brexit but there has not been a plan to follow up.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak speaking at the Conservative party conference in Manchester. Photo PA.

"A lot of European chefs and front of house workers have left the country.

"It was hoped local people would take jobs but they haven’t come forward.

"I believe the Government should act on it quickly by putting some incentives for young people on Universal Credit and benefits, otherwise we’re going to see a lot of places being closed.

Mr Rezai said he has witnessed shortages when travelling around the country and is also affecting other hospitality businesses in Hartlepool.

"There’s a shortage of staff all over,” he said.

"I see a lot of grey haired people come back from management to the shop floor because they haven’t got enough manpower.

“Let’s train people locally. It’s a very important industry.”

Mr Rezai said young people in Hartlepool have also refused employment because it is not cash in hand and would affect their of their family’s Universal Credit.

He is hoping to meet with town MP Jill Mortimer soon to raise the issues.

"I want to get the message to her to take it to Number 10,” he said.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak this week confirmed more than £500 million in fresh funding to help people back into work as he seeks to stem the continuing turbulence of the coronavirus pandemic.

He added Brexit – “despite the challenges” – meant the UK would have “agility, flexibility and freedom” and help create “a renewed culture of enterprise” in the long term.

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