Fish-and-chip shops need government help to survive as prices soar, says Liverpool chippy owner

Tony Kay, director at Docklands Fish and Chips in Liverpool, says many chippies are on the brink of closing down.

Fish and chips is one the nation’s favourite dishes but the spiralling costs of key ingredients and the doubling of energy bills means their are real fears over the future of the industry.

The end of government support for businesses following the COVID-19 pandemic coupled with inflation have made life tough, to say the least.

In fact, one in three fish and chip shops is at risk of failure, according to Industry bosses.

The award-winning Fylde Fish and Chips in Burscough, which was once named in the UK’s top 10, closed it doors this week due to soaring costs and it’s something chippy owners fear we could see repeated across Merseyside.

Tony Kay, owner of Docklands Fish and Chips in Liverpool. Image: LTV
Tony Kay, owner of Docklands Fish and Chips in Liverpool. Image: LTV
Tony Kay, owner of Docklands Fish and Chips in Liverpool. Image: LTV

Tony Kay, director at Docklands Fish and Chips on the Royal Albert Dock, told LiverpoolWorld: "A chip shop on the local high street couldn't keep up. You can't sell chips for a pound. There's no way."

Spiralling costs

Tony said that prices ‘have gone through the roof’, with some key supplies more than double their previous cost.

“A bag of peas has gone from £8 to £21. Your oils have gone from £12 to £20-odd. Fresh fish has gone from £60 to £90 or £100 per stone,” he explained.

The increase in costs of cod and haddock is partially due to higher costs of fuel for fishing fleets and increased wages for processing labour.

A hike on potatoes to make the chips is due to higher fuel prices as well as the increased costs of fertiliser.

The price of sunflower oil jumped around 60% after the invasion of Ukraine, but costs were already suffering due to increased demand for biofuels, plus pressures from climate change.

Mushy peas have gone up due to inflation, rising fuel and labour costs.

Finally, the cost of batter has risen due to higher wheat prices, lower stocks and uncertainty in the wheat market.

Government help now needed

Tony says only so much of their increased costs can be passed onto customers as people are only willing to spend so much on a fish supper.

He added: "We need government intervention for help. I see a lot of chip shops now that are going to close down - there's about 35 now."

There aren't many things more British than our fish and chip shops. They're at the very heart of our tourist industry here in the UK. So the message from owners to consumers is clear - use it, or lose it.

How much would you be willing to pay for a fish supper?