A RESTAURANT owner has stressed he will continue to keep his curry house going despite losing staff to Brexit.

Businessman Angur Miah has called on people to 'use or lose' the Vine and Spice in Long Wittenham, near Didcot, after speaking out about the difficulties of running rural businesses.

The highly regarded pub and restaurant was put up for sale earlier this year but Mr Miah has clarified this was due to the family exploring their options for the future, and urged people to support the business which is still open as normal.

He said: "We did put it on the market to see if there were any families out there who could take it on.

"If the right person came along to buy it then we would sell but for now we are committed to running it."

Mr Miah, who also runs the Dil Raj restaurant in Abingdon, and Memories of Bengal in Cholsey, near Wallingford, bought the pub 14 years ago and transformed it into an award-winning curry house, while retaining parts of its traditional look and feel.

He said the main struggle now is with recruitment with Brexit in particular having a noticeable effect.

He said: "We have suffered from recruitment for a long time.

"It's difficult to find staff from within the village and those who live further away don't like the un-sociable hours or braving the cold, icy roads.

"So we've always been reliant on people from other European countries but they are not staying.

"We've lost so many staff in the last year because they don't want to settle here.

"Why would they when they can go to another country and stay there as long as they like?

"The ones who come last two to three months - they do not see a future for themselves here."

The listed building, which was first registered as a beer shop in the 1840s, was completely renovated by the family, who spent £450,000 on doing it up.

One of only two pubs in the village, the bar has been kept for more casual drinks but this is not getting as much business as previously, with people choosing to stay at their houses and drink instead.

Mr Miah said he would like to see more of the village come out and support local businesses, rather than travelling to Oxford or Reading.

He said: "We have spent a lot of money to give the village somewhere to go but they need to support it.

"We bring in a lot of people from far afield in the summer but in the winter we don't get the same support and Christmas is quieter than it used to be.

"If they do not support the pub, it will shut one day."