The Asian Catering Federation (ACF), which represents 20,000 restaurant and takeaway owners across the country, has called for its members to back Britain staying in the EU….reports Asian Lite News
The announcement flies in the face of comments from Vote Leave that quitting the EU would benefit the country’s Asian restaurants.
ACF Chairman Yawar Khan said: “For large corporations trading internationally with powerful lobbying powers and sufficient resources to cope with the bureaucracy and regulations that come out of Brussels, the EU has many advantages,” said Khan. “But for small businesses serving a local community, the advantages of membership are less obvious.”
Khan has written to Prime Minister David Cameron requesting a personal meeting to discuss the problems faced by restaurateurs. Some members believes that if the UK were to leave the EU, it would allow restaurant owners to recruit staff from outside Europe and so alleviate the chronic chef shortage, which has seen 600 curry houses close in the past 18 months.
Responding to the announcement from the ACF, Alok Sharma MP said: “Contrary to the claims of the leave campaign, the Asian Catering Federation has very clearly called for its members to vote for Britain to remain in the EU.
“Britain’s membership of the EU – and the single market of 500 million people that it gives us access to – is vital for the ongoing stability of businesses both big and small around the country.
“Despite this, the leave campaign want us to throw our future into uncertainty. It is clear that Britain – and our much loved restaurant and takeaway industry – is better off as part of the EU and the ACF recognises this.”
A firm believer in free trade, Khan believes there is a wider world than Europe and business should be also be looking for closer links with the growing markets of China, India and beyond, including Britain’s traditional Commonwealth trading partners.
He also calls for relaxing European trade barriers which prevent Third World nations, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, from exporting their way out of poverty. The ACF is also lobbying the government to deliver the ‘level playing field’ promised by politicians ahead of the original referendum in1974.
“In the UK we impose more duty on a single bottle of wine than the French have on a 12-bottle case,” said Khan, adding, “In France the VAT on restaurant and hotel bills is half that of the UK.”
However, Khan fears that even if we were to vote in favour of a Brexit, powerful vested interests would never allow the UK to leave and that a second referendum would be inevitable. He cites the examples of Denmark and Eire, whose citizens were subjected to repeated votes until their political masters got the result they wanted.
The ACF believes the economic uncertainty during years of renegotiations following a ‘Leave’ vote, would have a serious effect of consumer confidence, which would hit the hospitality industry especially hard.