"Big increase" in business in East London, says culture minister

The culture secretary Jeremy Hunt has refuted claims that parts of London are becoming a ‘ghost town’ during the Olympics and has assured business in the east is booming.

In an interview with standard.co.uk, Mr Hunt dismissed media reports suggesting that the West End was taking a knock as a result of the Games, which are predominantly held in the East End of London.

Those who have marketed their businesses to tie in with the Games; whether that be a flower stall or city function venues, are said to be doing “extremely well”, he said. Overall however, he conceded that the biggest gains are being felt in East London.

“I think anyone who has a business anywhere in London is frankly quids in,” he said. “London was a fantastically important global city but thanks to the Games it is iconic.”

There are around 40,000 more people flooding into the East End than usual, added the culture secretary, while visitors to the West End remain unchained.

In the long run, experts close to Mr Hunt are forecasting that 4.5 million more tourists will visit the UK after the Games, four-fifths of whom would pass through London, cites politics.co.uk.

“The number of visitors we expect in the years that follow will be huge,” he continued. “All this publicity in every corner of the planet can only help our restaurants and hotels and I think it is going to be a massive boost.”