Riots in Birmingham have cost firms at least £7 million after the city turned into a “ghost town” abandoned by shoppers and diners too scared to leave their homes.
Estimates by Birmingham Chamber of Commerce Group place the loss of revenue for the retail and leisure industry alone at up to £2.5 million a day.
That figure does not include damage to businesses, the cost of stock looted from city stores or lost productivity due to firms sending staff home early.
The chamber said shops and leisure firms, which normally generate £5 million a day, are reporting a decrease of 50 per cent in trade as companies closed early to protect their staff and property following two nights of rioting.
But some businesses said they had taken far more than a 50 per cent hit after diners and shoppers completely abandoned the city centre and surrounding areas because of violent scenes.
Upmarket Indian restaurant Lasan in the Jewellery Quarter said it was forced to close its doors on Tuesday, and on Wednesday it had seen about 80 per cent of customers ringing up to cancel bookings.
The restaurant’s chef director Aktar Islam said: “If you walk around here now it’s like a ghost town – people are too scared to come into town,” he said.
Birmingham City Council leader Mike Whitby said the council would do all it can to help those communities, shops and businesses hit by rioting and looting to recover from the damage.
He said that the immediate response to violence and disorder was a matter for the police, but the council was assisting in clearing up and securing property.
“After this we will be looking to restore economic prosperity, particularly to those areas which have been ransacked,” he said.
“We will do what we can to help those shopping areas outside the city centre which have been affected.
“The economic situation has been difficult enough, without the problems we have seen in the last few days.”