Call for more Bradford food inspectors for City of Culture

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Image source, Bradford Council
Image caption,
A number of hotels and restaurants are interested in opening in Bradford for City of Culture 2025, councillors were told

More food inspectors will be needed in Bradford to cope with its year as City of Culture, councillors were told.

A meeting about food safety heard there was a backlog of 600 businesses awaiting a hygiene inspection.

Councillor Liz Rowe said the year-long arts festival, which will be held in 2025, had led to "a number enquiries from hotel chains and restaurants who want to come to the district".

"I can see the backlog getting worse rather than better," she added.

Councillors were told it was difficult to find experienced food inspectors, so the focus was on taking on apprentices or new graduates and training them up.

According to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, the meeting heard the council had 11 full time staff and ideally there should be at least 18 inspectors.

When asked what the problems in recruiting staff were, Angela Brindle, environmental health manager, said some staff were temped to work in other authorities, which paid up to £5,000 a year more than Bradford.

She said Bradford could also be a "challenging" place for a food safety officer to work, although she added: "It is a fantastic place to be a trainee."

Mrs Brindle said many businesses were facing pressures themselves. "They were struggling through Covid and they continue to struggle financially," she said.

"Businesses are finding it hard to deal with the increased cost of utilities and a lack of staffing which is often linked to Brexit."

Members voted to urge the Council Executive to consider the current workforce levels of the food hygiene team in the light of the City of Culture win.

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