Verandah Talk owner backs VAT cut to stimulate curry industry

Taj Raja with former Milton Keynes Mayor Catriona Morris
Taj Raja with former Milton Keynes Mayor Catriona Morris

A city restaurant owner has backed a campaign asking Prime Minister David Cameron to cut VAT to help stimulate the British curry industry.

Taj Raja, who owns VerandahTalk in Stratford Road, Wolverton, said even the smallest reduction in tax could make all the difference between restaurants surviving or going to the wall.

His comments followed the launch of a campaign by a group of Indian and Bangladeshi restaurant owners, led by British Curry Awards founder Enam Ali.

Mr Ali, who is also the chairman of the Guild of Bangladeshi Restauranteurs, and his backers wrote to Mr Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne earlier this month urging them to cut VAT.

It comes at a time when many many of the country’s 10,000-plus restaurants are struggling to keep their doors open after seeing a 35 to 40 per cent decline in trade this year.

Mr Raja said the Government needs to act to help stimulate business.

He said: “Across Europe, governments have made tax concessions for restaurants, hotels and tourist attractions. We need to do the same here,

“A sensible reduction would make a huge difference. Customers are being squeezed from all directions and do not have the disposable income they had in better times. VAT at the current rate is not helping matters.”

Earlier this month, Mr Ali told the Government that many restaurants will fall by the wayside without such concessions.