THE hospitality industry is calling for more support due to a labour market collapse.

Pub and restaurant owners across the country have warned they are struggling to attract enough staff, creating a crisis for the industry.

Chris Howell, manager of the Oak Inn at Staplow, said: "Since we have re-opened, we have been as busy as ever, but there are no chefs around.

"When we re-opened, we took on four new staff, but the demand means we are struggling to cope and need more staff.

"Usually when you are in need of a chef, the agencies are your back-up, but when they don't have any available, you do worry about it."

Mr Howell added they had approached colleges in the area to try and find newly-qualified chefs, but were still finding it difficult to attract job applications.

He added: "There are chefs out there, but most of them have been furloughed, and with the scheme being extended to September, they realistically aren't likely to move jobs.

"We have placed ads for a chef, sous chef and apprentice chef and have had to change the menu to cope with the demand."

Last week, Wetherspoons boss Tim Martin denied saying he was lacking staff due to Brexit.

Mr Martin, who was a vocal supporter of the UK leaving the European Union, told investors that a Daily Telegraph story “misrepresented Wetherspoon’s position”.

He said it “clearly isn’t true” that the pub group is facing staff shortages following the reopening of hospitality venues across the UK.

On Tuesday, the Telegraph published a story titled “Wetherspoons boss calls for more EU migration as bars and restaurants tackle staff shortage”, with other hospitality operators also highlighting staffing concerns as the recent reopening resulted in a surge in customer demand.

Trade group UK Hospitality has said that staffing has been a challenge, with Brexit adding to this issue as many EU workers returned to the continent.

Mr Martin, founder and executive chairman of the group, said on Wednesday that he told the reporter the pub giant is in a “reasonably good position” regarding applications for new roles across the country.

However, he added that “recruitment is more challenging in some seaside towns – but that’s no different to what we experience in any year”.

Mr Martin stressed that he still supports an “Australia-style immigration points system” with the potential for preferential visas for countries in close proximity to the UK.

“I was trying to be helpful to the journalist by providing up-to-date anecdotal information on staffing, which clearly demonstrated a very positive situation for Wetherspoon,” he said.

“However, my comments were misreported.

“The false story, expressed in the headline ‘Wetherspoons boss calls for more EU migration as bars and restaurants tackle staff shortage’ and expressed or implied elsewhere in the article, was that Wetherspoon was suffering staff shortages, which clearly isn’t true, and that I had subsequently been moved to change my stance on immigration, which, as my evidence to the parliament clearly shows, isn’t true either.”