Celebrity dog groomer: I'm facing Brexit staff shortage

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The impact of the EU referendum on recruitment in catering, farming and the NHS has already been well documented. Now spare a thought for celebrity dog owners — who are facing a shortage of canine groomers.

Jacob van Nieuwkoop’s Purplebone dog beauty parlours in Chelsea and Notting Hill are said to provide services for pets of stars who include David Beckham, Holly Valance, Lily Allen and Gary Barlow.

Former City worker Mr van Nieuwkoop, 52, said before the referendum he received job applications on a weekly basis from EU nationals both in the UK and abroad.

But, in recent months, the number of experienced dog groomers applying to work at the boutiques had fallen to “next to nothing”.

The business, which grooms about 300 pets a week, now has a seven-week waiting list because it cannot find three members of staff to style the pets.

Mr van Nieuwkoop said he faced closing one of its boutiques — which also sells designer dog clothes including bow ties and bandanas — because it was not economically viable.

He says without sufficient staff to cater for a high number of dogs he will not be able to pay the rent.

It could mean the likes of Beckham — whose canine brood includes cocker spaniel Olive, shar-pei Baranby and two bulldogs called Coco and Scarlet — might have to find a new dog groomer.

He said: “It’s clear that this ludicrousness of Brexit has already had an impact on a number of sectors and this is one of them.

“I believe people are worried about their immigration status, people don’t feel so welcome and don’t want to stay, others don’t want to come to London any more. It’s really alarming.

“We aren’t against employing people from the UK but there aren’t the correct applicants coming forward.”

Pizza chain Franco Manca’s owners have also highlighted problems   recruiting EU workers. Fulham Shore, the company behind the sourdough empire, said in its full-year results that the leave vote had made it difficult to find “skilled European staff”.

Mr van Nieuwkoop said he wanted to raise concerns about the impact on smaller sectors. Theresa May has said reducing net migration is a top priority when Britain leaves the EU.

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