Fish and chip shops ‘facing biggest threat in 160 years’ warns National Federation of Fish Friers president

Fish and chip shops along the East Coast – and the rest of the UK – are facing the biggest threat in 160 years.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 9th March 2022, 2:26 pm
The popular treat, which is devoured in massive numbers by residents and visitors alike, is expected to be hit by a potential return to 20% VAT, rising wages, higher energy bills, and the possibility of sanctions on fish from Russia.
The popular treat, which is devoured in massive numbers by residents and visitors alike, is expected to be hit by a potential return to 20% VAT, rising wages, higher energy bills, and the possibility of sanctions on fish from Russia.

The popular treat, which is devoured in massive numbers by residents and visitors alike, is expected to be hit by a potential return to 20% VAT, rising wages, higher energy bills, and the possibility of sanctions on fish from Russia.

This is the stark view of Andrew Crook, the president of the National Federation of Fish Friers.

Mr Crook said: “It’s a terrifying situation we’re facing at the moment. The high prices at the moment come down to a bit of a hangover after Covid. Energy and shipping costs have gone up. Wages have gone up. It’s forcing the price of everything up.

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“The fish and chip industry has always had quite a tight margin.

“Fish is a premium protein, it’s as expensive as steak in the supermarkets, but our prices have always been low.

“I’ve never had as much fear for the industry as I’m having now. If we get a sanction on Russian fish we can expect costs to triple.

“It could cause fish and chip shops to go bust. I’ve already seen it happening.

“It’s a very, very scary situation but we have to do the right thing by Ukraine.

“40 to 60% of white fish comes from Russian sources. It’s a massive amount of fish that comes in.

“It’s already terrifying. I’m 22 years in the industry and I’ve been through a lot of scares. But we’ve got a crisis on a crisis and now the rise to minimum wage and potential return to 20% VAT. I’ve never seen anything like it, it’s everything all at once. It’s the most dangerous threat to the industry in 160 years.

“We are in a position where we need to have a huge jump in prices. Everyone’s really worried. The VAT rise is going to put so many businesses under.

“We just hope customers continue to use their local independent businesses. We are all going to struggle and we need their support... especially fish and chips shops.

“If they want to contact their local MP too, that may help.”

○ Calling all fish and chip shop owners along the east coast: what do you think about the future of the industry? Email [email protected] with your views.