Mr. Pasha Khandaker MBE

Former President of BCA @ BCA1960

For many generations now, the curry industry has
fulfilled the tastes of the British public. Over the last
few decades, we have seen this cuisine transgress
from a simple curry house and now established as
a nation favourite.
This booming industry now represented town to
town in the UK, with restaurants across the nation
serving authentic curry to the British public. With
their key presence and achievements, they are
now represented by the BCA to ensure all of the
industry rights are met.Unfortunately, this industry
is now facing great danger as it begins to degrade
for many reasons. Despite the contribution of
over £4bn into our economy and employing over
120,000 employees across the country. This success
is not simply due to our food.
This has come overtime with our motherland grown
talent, years of developing and training staff.
The government don’t understand the intricacies
behind this. By placing such regulated and
impossible immigration rules, we are not able to
contribute the same standards and performance.
The government is surely aware of the fact that
curry is a household name in the UK and this
heritage must be preserved by all means.
With this all in mind, we had of course the biggest
hurdle in our lifetimes – the Covid 19 pandemic. This
pandemic, like for many businesses had destroyed
any stability we had. Despite this, the BCA stood
by the industry and ensured that we could support
each business as much as possible. We showed
immense support to the NHS through fundraising,
providing more than half a million meals for key
workers, ensuring all key workers were recognised
in our businesses. But all of this effort we placed
as an organisation was not recognise by the
mainstream.
Even though a hospitality council was created,
we had no participation in this. There is a simple
solution to saving this industry – a request to allow
us to bring a few thousand people from abroad
to work here. This would enable us to successfully
save our industry. Our industry is really struggling
with many hurdles and covid has been the biggest
issue thus far.
In addition to international work visas, if the
government granted a tax holiday and keep the
reduced VAT – this would also help to save our
industry. Covid has cost our industry a lot of money
and many restaurants have permanently shut down.
The aforementioned requests would really help
our industry slowly return to its successes following
COVID. Whilst we lobby for all these, we do very
much appreciate how Chancellor of the Exchequer
has helped us by way of the Furlough Scheme,
grants, loans and VAT reduction; but some of them
need to continue to help rebuild our businesses
which is going to take time.
If the government help save this industry, this will
reduce unemployment. If one restaurant closes, at
least 10 people become unemployed and in turn
creates pressure on the government and economy.
On a small thank you note , i would like to say a
heartfelt thank you to the opposition leader Kier
Starmer, for his unanimous support and promise to
help the industry. I would also like to thank the CBI
president Karan Bilimoria for his perpetual support
for this industry, he has been a pillar for us for many
years and his support shows no sign of wavering.
Finally I would like to congratulate the BCA
president and secretary, NEC and all BCA
members, for the diamond jubilee celebration. We
are so proud to be part of one of the biggest and
oldest ethnic organisations in the UK. I am sure the
BCA under this leadership will face and overcome
this challange to save the curry industry In Sha
Allah.