Pickles's 'curry college' to fill immigration gap

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Indy Politics

The Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles, plans to champion a "curry college" as part of his contribution to the Government's integration strategy.

Mr Pickles sees training British chefs as a means of solving the staff shortages in the £3bn industry triggered by the Government's crackdowns on immigration from south Asia. The Conservative MP for Brentwood and Ongar has put forward the idea in draft proposals for the integration strategy to be published by the Coalition soon. A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government was unable to confirm the contents of the draft document, but said: "British-Asian restaurants and take-aways make a vital contribution.

"However, to achieve the Government's aim of reducing net migration, under the revised point-based system, only the top 5 per cent of the most skilled chefs qualify for admission to this country. The Government is continuing to look at how it can best support British talent in Asian cuisine."

A location for the college has yet to be decided, but one front-runner could be Bradford, where Mr Pickles led the council from 1988-90.