Hundreds of Indian restaurants 'could close after a £16,000-a-year rise in electricity and ingredients'

HUNDREDS of Indian restaurants are reportedly facing closure as they can't keep up with a £16,000-a-year rise in electricity and ingredient prices.

Experts have warned spiralling prices are "unsustainable" and could see the loss of thousands of jobs across the country – with Britain's top dish the tikka masala "under threat".

Curry house bosses are calling for more help from the government in the form of VAT and council tax cuts as well as business rates relief.

According to trade magazine Spice, electricity bills for the 8,000 Indian restaurants in the UK are up £640 to £960, from £400 to £600 last year.

Meanwhile, the cost of mango chutney has skyrocketed 39 per cent from 95p to £1.32 in recent months, while cardamom is up from £25 to £32 per kilo.

The price of a kilo of fresh chicken has also jumped from £2.90 to £3.80, and a 25kg sack of onions is now £1 more at £8.75.

Enam Ali, founder of the Spice Business and the British Curry Awards, told the Mirror that such cost increases are "unsustainable" and could spell the end for many restaurants and takeaways.

He added: “After years of pain caused by the lack of skilled chefs and the Covid crisis, the curry industry is now being hit by cost increases in everything from gas to cardamom, vegetable oil to mango chutney.

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“Unless costs come under control, many hundreds of curry restaurants will go under, thousands of jobs will be lost.

"The great British tikka masala – the country’s favourite dish – is under threat as never before.”

A Treasury spokesman said: “We’ve supported hospitality jobs and businesses through the pandemic.”

It comes as pubs and restaurants are set to hike prices by as much as 11 per cent, and it's all because of the cost of living crisis.

Brits have been crippled by soaring costs across the board, with some having to make the choice between heating and eating – and now it's even at their local they'll feel the pinch.

Prices have gone up in the supermarkets, energy bills are due to rise further, and Brits are expected to fork out more on National Insurance tax in April.

Around 93 per cent of hospitality businesses have said they plan to increase customer prices, according to UK Hospitality.

Bosses have seen double-figure increases in their own energy bills, labour, food and drink prices and insurance costs.

They're also about to face VAT rises on food and soft drinks from 12.5 per cent to 20 per cent, and witness an increase in business rates in April.

That means we'll see an average of 11 per cent rise in the price on the pub or restaurant menu to offset the soaring costs.

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