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Does the Kebab Industry need a representative body?

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By Edward Rowe

After a sensational election victory for Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party, the British government has a mandate to implement its new political programme. With Mr Johnson set to pursue plans for a new trade deal with the European Union after Brexit and an Australian-style points system on immigration, the UK Kebab Industry is likely to be impacted by these policies in the long-term.

A large proportion of essential food stuffs such as chicken products sold in Britain are imported from abroad. What’s more, many British restaurants and takeaways rely on having access to crucial migrant labour from EU countries such as Romania and Bulgaria to ensure that their operations are adequately staffed.

Britain’s kebab businesses stand to lose out if they do not engage with decision-makers on these and other issues that affect their ability to function smoothly and profitably.

In the face of the challenges of Brexit and the current government’s legislative agenda around international trade and immigration to name just a couple, the Kebab Industry could, or perhaps should organise in order to make its voice heard in the corridors of power on the issues that matter.

Let’s not forget that politicians nearly destroyed the kebab sector in Europe before! The European Parliament almost voted to ban vital phosphates required to keep doner meat together, juicy and flavourful in December 2017. While enough MEPs voted to protect the industry across Europe, a representative from the German Association of Doner Kebab Producers said that a successful phosphate ban attempt would be a “death sentence for the entire doner kebab industry in the European Union.”

Proposed changes to EU legislation once threatened the Kebab Industry in Europe.

Close shaves like these should sound alarm bells and remind businesses across the UK Kebab Industry that they so desperately need to unite, find a common voice and use that voice to convey their views to government and influence the decisions and policies that affect them.

Kebab businesses whether big meat producers selling their goods abroad, or large chains, local restaurants and takeaways looking to recruit suitable staff and buy imported ingredients and supplies could well be affected for the worse if they fail to speak up.

These businesses are part of a vibrant British industry which deserves national representation to ensure that policy-makers are aware of their concerns and can help solve their problems – it’s worth remembering that they could be about to have plenty!

Post-election Britain has presented the sector with an important new opportunity.

The Confederation of British Industry or CBI tries to speak on behalf of UK businesses and campaign in their interests; could Britain’s new political trajectory cause the Kebab Industry to realise that it is time for a CBKI too?

Perhaps now the industry has a chance to wake up to the need for a representative body to promote its interests not only in the Brexit process but also beyond.

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