Earlier this month, I attended the 6th Annual Asian Restaurant Awards, held at the Sheraton Hotel in Edinburgh. It was a great night and a successful event. I was honoured to be able to present awards to some of Scotland’s most prestigious, delicious and well-loved restaurants. 

I would like to congratulate Mr Yawar Khan, the Chairman of the Asian Catering Federation, and his hard-working team for organising the 6th Asian Restaurant Awards in an amazing venue. 

At a time when the sector is facing significant challenges with staff shortages, along with rising energy and food prices, it is important that we acknowledge excellence and celebrate the success of Asian Restaurants across Scotland. 

Unfortunately, our restaurant industry is facing a devastating crisis. Whilst it was amazing to congratulate all of our nation’s fantastic winners and taste some delicious food at the awards, it also became evident that urgent action is needed to prevent Scotland’s restaurant industry from being buried underneath the rubble of the cost-of-living crisis. 

There is no doubt that Restaurant and Catering businesses in Scotland have suffered during COVID-19 and now the cost-of-living crisis. Even before this, problems with recruiting staff were also a prominent issue in the industry. At the awards ceremony, some winners of awards weren’t able to attend as they couldn’t find cover. 

I know from speaking to many of the restaurateurs at the awards that they desperately need the Government’s support and guidance-with VAT and business rates, with energy costs, with staffing. 

I will be writing to both the UK Government and the Scottish Government to see what collaborative approach can be taken so that Scotland’s restaurant industry can receive the supportive scaffolding that it is desperately asking for. 

I’ll also be asking for meetings with the appropriate Scottish Ministers and lodging a motion of congratulations, to support the amazing success and provision of our nation’s restaurant industry. 

It’s time to give Scotland’s restaurants the support that they deserve.

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