THE closure of a Lake District bistro after a decade of trading has been raised in the House of Commons as an example of the recruitment crisis in Cumbria. 

Steam Bistro in Coniston announced on Thursday, February 1 that it would be 'calling it a day.' 

Much of the statement put out by the bistro pointed to challenges in recruitment as one of the main reasons why the business would have to close its doors. 

Sarah and Colin Webb, who ran the bistro, said: "There are many reasons [for the closure]. So many sleepless nights wondering how to make it work, how to get staff in an industry where 60 per cent plus or our workforce have left the industry post-Covid, [and] how to offer a team the work/life balance they deserve." 

The MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale Tim Farron spoke during Work and Pensions Questions on Monday, February 5. 

READ MORE: Lake District restaurant Steam Bistro in Coniston closes

He asked the Minister for Employment Jo Churchill: "This week we mourn the loss of yet another Lake District business, this time a bistro in Coniston, due in part to the loss of affordable homes and to restrictive visa rules, both of which are shrinking our local workforce. Will the Minister meet me and local Cumbrian business leaders to develop a plan to tackle Cumbria’s workforce crisis?"

Ms Churchill replied: "I am happy to meet the hon. Gentleman, but I also gently say that this is about other Government Departments as well. I will certainly work with him as far as employers go, under my remit." 

Speaking after the Commons debate, Mr Farron said that Steam Bistro was a business with no problems getting orders, but could not recruit the workforce needed to run it. 

Cumbria Tourism research in late 2023 found that 79 per cent of businesses say recruitment of staff is a problem and that a lack of staff is limiting capacity for almost 63 per cent of businesses.