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City restaurant lands Boris Johnson with £90k bill for Olympic losses

10 commentsBy Luke Nicholls , 10-Aug-2012
Last updated on 10-Aug-2012 at 13:32 GMT

A restaurateur from the City has sent London Mayor Boris Johnson a bill for £90,000 after revealing her businesses turnover has dropped by 80 per cent because of the Olympic Games.

Neleen Strauss, owner of High Timber restaurant near St Paul’s Cathedral, said she holds the mayor ‘wholly responsible’ for the massive downturn in business.

“The dire prophecies of congestion and encouragements to work from home have left City businesses empty,” said Strauss. “The head of a large City accountancy firm told me that the number of employees actually working in his office had dropped to 15 per cent. There is no-one here.

“The mayor may speak of ‘jam tomorrow’ but it’s the here and now that pays wages. It’s been a travesty of miscalculation and scare-mongering.”

Strauss, who opened High Timber three years ago, went on to insist that the apparent influx of tourists and increased trade heralded by the arrival of the Games to London haven’t materialised.

“The mayor’s posse of advisors have obviously not done their homework,” she said. “They went into overdrive to discourage City workers from coming into the office to leave room on the roads and tubes for the droves of visitors going east. But their warnings have been taken to heart by so many, the City is dead and many businesses are suffering terribly.

“I hold the mayor personally responsible and expect him to make up the deficit in my loss in takings. After all, he’s the one who encouraged Londoners to leave London free for the millions of extra people.”

Strauss said she had also included the ‘ludicrous’ 20 per cent VAT imposed on her diners in the total bill presented to the mayor. And she assured Johnson she would continue to promptly pay the £106,000 business rates collected every year, but wondered whether there would also be a reduction in that amount, given the City had ‘virtually closed for business’ for two weeks.

The 'ghost town' effect

The news is the latest in a long line of stories about the negative financial impact the London 2012 Olympics is having on many hospitality businesses.

Do you have a restaurant in central London? How have the London 2012 Olympics been affecting trade for your business? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

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10 comments (Comments are now closed)

Take a break

Seems you were partly expecting it so why not close for 2 weeks and take a holiday. Considering the horrendous prices (not always reflected in the service attitude and quality may I say) as also evidenced by the amount you are claiming you lost, there are many local businesses far more worthy of our help and sympathy. Hope you don't mind him sorting out the money for those who lost their businesses completely during the riots before getting round to you..

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Posted by James
18 August 2012 | 16h10

Not only in London!

Actually it hasn't just affected London; in our small cafe in Devon our takings were down by about 20% because of people staying at home to watch the Olympics on television over the two weeks.

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Posted by Sue Taylor
14 August 2012 | 16h13

Are you sure

With the prices that you charge i am surprised you could not afford to shut up shop for a couple of months a year.
My last meal at this place cost £70 per head not including wine.

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Posted by NEG
13 August 2012 | 13h03

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