'Brexit is already biting', Chrisp Street Market traders claim
PUBLISHED: 19:00 11 September 2018 | UPDATED: 13:23 12 September 2018
Traders have warned customers are already feeling the pinch from Brexit and its hurting business.
Price rises on goods brought into the country fuelled by a weak pound which some say was sparked by Brexit has forced shoppers at Chrisp Street Market in the Lansbury estate Poplar to cut back on spending, traders claimed.
Ammar Hasani from Gates DIY Stores said: “Since Brexit started shops have done nothing but close down.
“Big retailers and smaller businesses are suffering. I’ve been through three recessions and I have never seen it so bad.”
He estimated that since the Brexit vote 20 businesses had closed at Chrisp Street – the first purpose built pedestrianised shopping centre in the country.
The evidence is clear with boarded up stores daubed with graffiti.
Butcher Yusif Rahman explained how most of his customers were from Europe.
“About 70 per cent of our customers are from Italy. If they go back then maybe our business will close. We want to stay,” he said.
More than one in seven residents – 41,000 people – are citizens of other EU countries, according to the council.
And shopper Mamady Berate, 23, from Poplar, said: “The biggest effect is the price of everything increasing. Most of the things we receive in the UK come from other countries. If we go out, it would be hard for us.”
At a stall in Vesey Path yards from the covered market, political campaigners called on pedestrians to sign a petition calling for a second referendum or People’s Vote on Brexit.
Chairman of the borough’s Liberal Democrat Party Ed Long said it was vital people get a chance to decide on a final Brexit deal.
Shadwell’s Lib-Dem Cllr Rabina Khan said: “Families are already struggling under austerity.”
She slammed Tower Hamlets mayor John Biggs for not setting up sooner the Brexit Commission looking at the likely impact on the borough.
Commission chair Cllr Amina Ali said: “Tower Hamlets has spent the last year preparing for Brexit. This commission is the next step in this process.
“We want to hear from our businesses and residents so that we can seek to support them where we can.”