The boss of fast-growing Aberdeen-based franchise Tidy Green Clean (TGC) has invited Home Secretary Priti Patel to visit the Granite City to hear concerns that “Brexit isn’t working for business”.
Andrew Alleway, co-founder and managing director of TGC, an environment-friendly commercial cleaning venture, has also written to other local and government officials to highlight post-Brexit recruitment challenges affecting many of his customers.
The Covid-19 crisis has only exacerbated underlying problems caused by Britain’s exit from the European Union, Mr Alleway said.
It’s far too easy to blame this on the pandemic.”
Andrew Alleway, Tidy Green Clean
He added: “In our industry, we work with many different businesses in every sector and we are hearing a common story – ‘I can’t find skilled and willing staff anymore’.
“For Tidy Green Clean, because we are an accredited member of the Living Wage Foundation, with many of our clients willing to pay Living Wage for our staff, we have fewer challenges than most.
“But talking with customers in the hospitality and leisure industries particularly, we are hearing that many European workers have gone home or to work in an EU country because they can earn more and do not have to worry about making sure they can get settled status.
“The Home Office’s approach to EU citizens since January 1 2021 has been undesirable and caused huge amounts of distress for individual families, and that is now causing business significant challenges.”
EU workers have been the “backbone” of many UK industries for decades”, Mr Alleway said, adding: “Quite simply, it’s far too easy to blame this on the pandemic; the truth is, Brexit isn’t working for business.
“I am calling on local, national and UK governments to think more strategically about how to accommodate key overseas workers and for the home secretary, the Rt Hon Priti Patel MP to come here to Aberdeen to meet myself and other business owners and hear what is actually going on for businesses everywhere.”
Meanwhile, TGC has announced “significant” growth in the first half of 2021, with two new franchises established in Edinburgh, and Highlands & Moray.
The business also has a new commercial manager, Calum Johnston, responsible for growing national and key accounts throughout Scotland and – as TGC grows – in the rest of the UK.
Mr Alleway played a key part in building a franchise in New Zealand into a commercial cleaning giant before selling up and moving to Scotland, where he and a business partner, operations director David Moncur, launched TGC in mid-2017.
TGC has since grown to seven franchised operations, with new franchisee Faith Fitzgerald recently joining the group as regional director for Highlands & Moray.
Ms Fitzgerald, previously a support worker with community care charity Cornerstone and more recently a lecturer in business and management at the University of the Highlands and Islands, said: “Tidy Green Clean is a business that puts people and its core values about the high standards, technology, and the environment at its heart.
“I am looking forward to working with businesses across the region to show just what that means.”
Mr Alleway said: “We are delighted to welcome Faith. She’s an outstanding individual who brings both commercial cleaning experience and a strong background in business with her. We wish her every success and all our support for the bright future ahead of her.”
Home Office response:
A spokeswoman for the Home Office said: “The British people repeatedly voted to end free movement and take back control of our immigration system, which is precisely what we have delivered.
“We also delivered the hugely successful EU Settlement Scheme, which has seen more than 5.1 million grants of status, to ensure our EU friends and neighbours could secure the status they need to stay here.
“Companies need to invest in our domestic workforce instead of relying on cheap labour from abroad. This is the most effective way to ensure we have a thriving economy.”