The Government in launching an investigation into restaurant tips after a string of stories claiming employers are pocketing money that ought to go to staff.

Business secretary Sajid Javid is calling for evidence to look at how restaurants treat tips left by customers and whether intervention is necessary to strengthen the voluntary code of practice run by the industry.

The inquiry will seek information and views from the hospitality industry and other stakeholders and will consider whether there should be a cap on the proportion of tips restaurants can withhold from staff for administrative costs and, if so, what this level should be.

Last week the Echo reported on claims that staff at Turtle Bay, the flagship restaurant in the Citrus Building, were required to hand over 3% of their sales per shift, regardless of whether they made that amount in tips.

And staff at Pizza Express are taking advice over the chain's practice of taking 8% of tips paid on credit or debit cards.

Sajid Javid said: ''When a diner leaves a tip, they rightly expect it to go to staff. In full. I'm concerned about recent reports, suggesting some restaurants pocket tips for themselves. That's just not right.

 ''I've ordered an immediate investigation to look at the evidence and consider the views of employees, customers and the industry to see how we can deal with the abuse of tipping.

''We want a fair deal on pay for working people and that includes taking action on tipping abuse.''

But Unite urged Mr Javid not to introduce a system that will make it lawful for an employer to pocket a proportion of staff's tips.

Unite officer Dave Turnbull said: ''We are pleased that the Government has woken up to this scandal, but we would ask that they think carefully about an effective solution.

''Capping admin fees will simply legitimise the underhand practice of restaurants taking a slice of staff tips and be near enough impossible to enforce.

''When customers eat at the likes of Pizza Express, they give tips in the expectation that all of it will go to staff and not be pocketed by management.

Only last week, Giraffe scrapped its 10% admin fee on tips, joining chains like Restaurant Group and Jamie Oliver's to play fair with their staff.

''Rather than tinkering around the edges, Sajid Javid should be looking to scrap what is effectively a tax by restaurant bosses on money meant for the pockets of hardworking staff.

''The principle ought to be that the tips go to those who have earned them, plain and simple.

''The minister needs to understand that the only way forward is the most just way - let the workers keep their tips.''