Brexit is forcing Brick Lane curry houses to ‘go to the wall’ say Bengali restaurant traders
PUBLISHED: 16:00 28 November 2018 | UPDATED: 07:30 29 November 2018
Mike Brooke + BCA
Brexit is dealing as fatal blow to the Brick Lane curry trade where restaurants have been going out of business since the referendum, say owners.
Now the body representing the curry traders is calling on MPs to throw out Theresa May’s deal to quit the EU when it hits the Commons on December 11—and press for a People’s Vote.
“Those MPs who represent the East End, the heart of the curry industry, must vote down the Prime Minister’s deal,” Bangladeshi Caterers Association Secretary General Oli Khan insists.
“The public must have a final say—with the option to stay in Europe.
“Our MPs at Westminster need to stand up for traders who feel let down and disenfranchised.”
He slammed Brexit politicians he says misled the curry trade into supporting the Leave campaign in 2016 with “lies” and unrealistic false promises.
“We were misled and induced to mobilise 150,000 workers from restaurants across the country to support the Leave campaign,” Mr Khan revealed.
“Pro-Leave politicians promised us the world, with more cooks from South Asia through relaxed visa rules, a clampdown on undocumented workers and lower salary thresholds to hire overseas staff.
“We were promised that Brexit would rebuild communities and protect businesses—but it’s clear that was all a farce, that we were misled.”
The association representing restaurants throughout the country says curry houses which have already been hit by soaring rents and business rates now face prospect of a shrinking economy which could put many out of business.
“Brexit is the final death-blow to curry houses,” Mr Khan added. “In Brick Lane alone, 30 restaurants have shut down.
“The immigration squeeze means owners are faced with crippling staff shortages and the weakening £ driving up costs.”
The association is now launching an 11th-hour campaign to persuade MPs to kick out the deal on December 11 and campaign for a second referendum with an option to remain.
Otherwise, they say, the curry heritage that has become a British cuisine landmark in the past 50 years and “nowhere more so than in the East End” will disappear.