Cost of living: Midlothian curry king Habibur Khan warns rising costs could lead to restaurant closures
Loanhead restaurant owner calls on government support for struggling sector
The owner of an award-winning Midlothian curry house has warned that up to a third of UK restaurants could be forced to close due to the continuing rise in energy costs and food prices.
Habibur Khan is the managing partner of the multi award-winning Radhuni restaurant in Loanhead. He has said several thousand jobs could be lost unless there was urgent action to help restaurants during this cost of living crisis. He said: “In the current climate many businesses simply won’t survive. If there’s no urgent fix by the end of the year, 30 per cent of restaurants in Britain may have shut their doors. Staff will lose their jobs and put even more pressure on already stretched government welfare budgets.”
Mr Khan, who also helps run his family’s Itihaas restaurant in nearby Dalkeith, said annual energy costs for both establishments had risen to a staggering £60,000. He called for a restoration of the lower VAT rate for tourism and hospitality businesses which the UK Government ended last March. The price of basic ingredients used in restaurant kitchens had soared, he said. Rice had increased by 25 per cent and there had been a doubling of the wholesale prices for commodities such as onions, garlic and cream.
Mr Khan has written to Midlothian councillors, MSPs and its MP, saying that although Radhuni and Itihaas, whose own awards have included Scotland’s Curry Chef and South Asian Restaurant of the year, had put the region on the nation’s culinary map, “like countless other restaurants we are being hamstrung by soaring energy and food prices.” He added: “We and other restaurateurs are doing our very best to cope but many will have severe difficulty in doing so without powerful and urgent government interventions.”
Radhuni is a former winner of the British Curry Awards, has gained many other regional and national awards, and is one of only a handful of Indian restaurants in Scotland to have achieved an AA Rosette for culinary excellence. The restaurant has also helped many local good causes and sponsors local football side Bonnyrigg Rose.