Search

Curry crisis: restaurant leaders call for cut in VAT

PUBLISHED: 13:00 04 September 2012 | UPDATED: 17:22 04 September 2012

'Lease for sale' sign at Café Naz

'Lease for sale' sign at Café Naz

Archant

Restaurants along the famous Brick Lane ‘Curry Mile’ in London’s East End face closing down because of VAT now hitting 20 per cent.

Ground floor at Café Naz no longer usedGround floor at Café Naz no longer used

They are among 10,000 curry houses in Britain struggling with a 40 per cent drop in trade this year and the taxman taking £1 for every £5 diners spend.

Now leaders of the £3.6 billion-a-year curry industry are calling on the government to act before more businesses under.

They have written to Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne urging a cut in VAT.

The prestigious two-storey Café Naz in Brick Lane has a notice advertising “restaurant lease for sale.”

Odud Choudhury fears his Saffron restaurant could be nextOdud Choudhury fears his Saffron restaurant could be next

Trading has already ceased on the ground floor which only a year ago would be packed with diners—just the upper floor is currently in use.

Owner Muqim Ahmed had put the business up for sale. He is keeping the property freehold, but wants to offload the restaurant and is looking for a buyer.

“I’ve put the Naz on the market—but no-one has the money to take it over,” Muqim told the Advertiser. “The curry trade is on its knees.

“Brick Lane is finished. My staff don’t want me top sell it—but it is for sale. The industry is not making money.”

His rival Azmal Hussain, who runs nearby Preem & Prithi, says he was offered the business, but “can’t afford to run it.”

Azmal explained: “There isn’t the trade to cover the rent and high business rates—it would have to make £15,000 minimum a week just to clear.”

He is vice chair of the Brick Lane Restaurateurs Association which is backing the call for a reduction in VAT he says is crippling the trade.

One restaurant has already closed in Brick Lane. A notice hangs in the window of Dawaar curry house with a warning from a firm of bailiffs not to enter the premises now under its “care and protection.”

Opposite, Odud Choudhury, 43, fears his Saffron curry house could be next to go.

“We are in danger of closing down,” he told the Advertiser. “I give it three months, perhaps.

“I had to lay off staff—it was a blow. We’ve had an awful time since VAT went up and it’s getting worse.”

Opposite, Chillies’ owner Shah Ali is also thinking of quitting after cutting back his workforce.

He said: “I will sell the restaurant if things don’t pick up. Increasing VAT hasn’t helped.”

British Curry Awards founder Enam Ali, Chairman of the Guild of Bangladeshi Restaurateurs, believes a small reduction in VAT could make all the difference.

“Many restaurants won’t be around when we hold the Curry awards next year,” Mr Ali warned. “Some have already fallen by the wayside.”

Brick Lane traders were assured of an influx of visitors during last month’s Olympics—which never materialised.

Latest East London News Stories

18:10

One of east London’s biggest-ever horse-drawn funerals paraded through the streets for the funeral of ‘the king of Roman Road Market’ with nearly 300 mourners.

16:21

These knives have all been illegaly sold to underage children by dodgy traders in Tower Hamlets this year.

12:00

Small businesses that rent railway arches which are soon to be sold off have written to Transport Minister Jo Johnson setting out their demands for the future of the Network Rail properties.

Toyhouse Libraries in Tower Hamlets is one of six winners of a community funding grant.

Yesterday, 17:30

An engineer has been recognised for his bravery after rescuing a 13-year-old from a vicious knife attack in Bow.

Yesterday, 15:57

If you’ve ever had the desire to watch a giant piece of toxic sewage on a 24/7 livestream - well, now you can.

Yesterday, 14:56

A food festival is planned over three days in the Moat at the Tower of London next month with cooking demos from top chefs and lessons on how to decorate a naked cake.

Yesterday, 13:21

A man is appealing for help to find his missing phone, which he said contains some irreplaceable memories.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Are you a landlord looking for a fixed rental income, paid whether the property is empty or not? Steve Westley, general manager at estate agents Elliot Leigh, explains their Guaranteed Rent Scheme and how it takes the stress out of letting your property.

Newsletter Sign Up

East London Advertiser twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Docklands and East London Advertiser
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now