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Exmouth Market’s EU firms: Brexit is already having a negative impact on us

PUBLISHED: 08:40 05 May 2017 | UPDATED: 14:42 08 May 2017

Exmouth Market. Picture: Vickie Flores

Exmouth Market. Picture: Vickie Flores

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Business chiefs in European-dominated Exmouth Market fear Brexit is already affecting their shops, cafes and bars.

A general view of Exmouth Market in London EC1R.A general view of Exmouth Market in London EC1R.

While it looks like business as usual in the much loved Clerkenwell street, behind closed doors, and behind the counters, changes are starting to be felt.

Exmouth Market is renowned across London for its top street food and restaurants, with some three quarters of its businesses originating from Europe. But shops such as the jeweller, newsagents and many restaurants are already being hit by higher import costs for metal, charcoal and food.

Italian staff at Macellaio RC restaurant said they were concerned about job security, while a stall worker at street food stand Risotteria said: “Prices are going up all the time.”

Managers know the biggest changes are yet to come, but have been left largely in the dark with no word from the government on how to respond to rising import costs. Labour councillor for Clerkenwell, Raphael Andrews, said there was “not much we can do”, but added he not foresee “dire consequences” for the economy as council leader Richard Watts warned last year in a Gazette interview.

“Vote Leave” graffiti is still sprayed in Clerkenwell alleyways, and European restaurants fear they may be able to draw fewer customers in the future. A European member of staff at Gail’s Bakery suffered verbal abuse because she spoke in her native language.

For now, businesses simply hope to draw in as many customers as possible this spring and summer during what is usually the market’s busiest time.

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