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Future of ‘great British pub’ put to Theresa May during PMQs

By Georgina Townshend contact

- Last updated on GMT

Quizzed: Prime Minister Theresa May was asked about labour shortages at pubs
Quizzed: Prime Minister Theresa May was asked about labour shortages at pubs
A Labour Party MP has asked how the Prime Minister plans on dealing with a “chronic and acute sudden lack of labour” that has been a “blow to the great British pub”.

At a meeting of the House of Commons on Wednesday 13 September, MP for Cambridge, Daniel Zeichner, addressed Theresa May during Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs).

Zeichner’s question was based on the shortage of labour created by Brexit and the country "taking back control".

He said: “The Cambridge News​ reports that pubs in the area won’t be able to serve food because they can’t find the skilled staff to do it.

“Isn’t it ironic that ‘taking back control’ is a further blow to the great British pub?

“Can the Prime Minister tell us what plans she has put in place to help institutions deal with this chronic and acute sudden shortage of labour?”

Wider issue that needs 'dealing with'

In response, May said: “The honourable gentleman talks as if there is no net migration into this country any longer. Whereas, of course, there is net migration still in this country.

“People are coming into this country to take on work.

“But there is a wider issue that we need to deal with, that the Government is dealing with. As we have seen in some of the announcements the Secretary of State for Education (Justine Greening) has made, we are making sure that young people here in the UK do get the training, do get the skills, do get the technical education they need to be able to take on the skilled jobs of the future”.

Uncertain future for pub staff

At the beginning of the month, a leaked Government document suggested new restrictions​ could be introduced to cut the number of low-skilled EU migrants working in the UK immediately after Brexit.

The uncertainty over employment and migration meant that, in June, a panel of industry leaders emphasised the importance of recruiting more people from the UK.

British Beer & Pub Association chief executive Brigid Simmonds said at the time that pub companies needed to start recruiting more from the UK “as there is uncertainty about how strict the Government curbs on EU immigration will be after Brexit”.

Related topics: Legislation

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