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Eric Pickles pays tribute to curry entrepreneurs

Eric Pickles has praised the nation's top curry restaurants and promised to support the spice industry in going from strength to strength.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Eric Pickles with Heston Blumenthal and Enam and Justine Ali

Speaking at the 2010 British Curry Awards, the Communities Secretary paid tribute to the contribution that the spice industry makes to both the national economy and the local community.

Now in their sixth year, and a highlight of the gastronomic calendar, the British Curry Awards celebrates the best of Britain’s favourite dishes and restaurants.

Mr Pickles said:

Curry has a huge place in our national affections. The tikka masala is more British than fish and chips. And curry is big business as well as a great meal. The entrepreneurial spirit shown by those present is a real inspiration. The growth in the spice industry over recent years is a modern day success story and is testament to the hard work of those running these restaurants - as well as their cooking.

Mr Pickles is a well known curry fan. Earlier this year, he was pictured in 1 of Birmingham’s most popular curry restaurants, prompting a significant pay out by Ladbrokes bookmakers.

Reflecting on the Prime Minister’s visit to India earlier this year, Mr Pickles stressed the importance of building up strong economic and cultural links with India. Closer to home, he promised to work constructively with the industry on all the relevant issues - from skills and small business rate relief to bin collections.

The awards, organised by Enam and Justine Ali, took place at Grosvenor House. There were 3,500 different restaurants who received more than 67,000 nominations from listeners to LBC radio and viewers of STAR TV and ITN. The winners were chosen by food critics, journalists and celebrity chefs.

There are now 12,000 Indian restaurants all over the UK and Ireland with an annual turnover of £4.2 billion yearly and directly employing around 100,000 people. The event was raising funds for the Help a London Child fund.

Published 22 November 2010