Curry houses in ‘worst situation Brick Lane has ever seen’

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Restaurant owners warned today of a wave of closures along the Brick Lane “curry mile” after the area suffered the worst year in its history.

Businesses have seen a 40 per cent drop in trade, which owners blame on the rise in VAT to 20 per cent in January. But Brick Lane has also seen takings drop since tarmac was laid over the road’s cobbles six months ago and the Olympic crowds failed to show this summer.

Two restaurants have closed since the start of the year and a number of owners are now trying to sell up.

Shamim Ali, who owns Meraz Restaurant in Hanbury Street, said that since the rise in VAT running his business had become “a hand to mouth” job.

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