Pret A Manger has aimed to tackle criticism over the number of British employees in its workforce by taking on more UK workers during the last 12 months.

The top 10 BB75 retailer had previously received criticism from Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, and the former employment minister Chris Grayling, over the number of UK citizens it employed.

In response, Pret has seen an 18% increase in the number of British nationals now working at the company, and employed a further 180 Britons last year, which drove up the percentage of UK nationals in its workforce from 17% to 20%.

In an interview with The Independent, Clive Schlee, chief executive of Pret, said: “We are pleased that we have seen some encouraging signs and that the number of British workers at Pret has increased. But this is not a Pret issue, this is an industry-wide issue and there is no quick fix.

“We are expanding our School Leavers Programme this coming year and will continue to do all that we can to attract more British applicants. We will always employ the very best people at Pret and we celebrate the rich diversity of our workforce and the atmosphere that brings to our shops.”

Pret’s School Leavers Programme aims to deliver information on working at the company to every school leaver across the country, to help raise awareness of jobs through increased advertising.