A new campaign has been launched to help save Scotland’s fish and chip shops amid fears up to a third could be forced to close due to rapidly rising VAT costs.
Carlo Crolla, owner of East Coast Fish & Chips and East Coast Restaurant in Musselburgh, East Lothian, has teamed up with the National Federation of Fish Friers (NFFF) to raise awareness about the threat to businesses.
Mr Crolla said the price of fish has doubled, while energy bills have spiralled and cooking oil is more expensive than ever, leaving some fish and chips shops struggling for survival.
The NFFF is urging the UK Government to reconsider its plan to increase VAT on food and soft drinks back from 12.5% to 20% in April which it said is an added concern for the industry.
Mr Crolla said: “By teaming up with the National Federation of Fish Friers, we hope to do our bit by encouraging people to support their local fish and chip shop around Scotland during these extremely challenging times.
“Our family has been proudly serving the local community with quality fish and chips for nearly 50 years, but the spiralling costs battering our industry is putting all that at risk.
“We won’t compromise on quality, but these external factors will inevitability mean a rise in costs for us and our customers.”
Some members of the NFFF have reported electricity bills going up from £400 to £2000 a month.
Meanwhile fish and chip shops have seen a 75% rise in the cost of cod since October, an 81% increase in the cost of haddock in the last year, a 120% rise in the cost of mushy peas and a 40% surge in the cost of batter.
Andrew Crook, president of the NFFF, said: “We are in unprecedented times where we are seeing high levels of inflation and food inflation is even higher.
“Most of the supplies we use in the fish and chip industry have increased drastically in price and we are expecting this to continue for some considerable time.
“Other products are simply not available, and we have seen suppliers move away from the sector
“Fish and chips shops like East Coast in Musselburgh do feel the effect of these increases more than most cuisines as our margins are much tighter. The price of fish is comparable to steak in supermarkets.
“As a result of this, and our commitment to ensuring a high quality good value, good value product, we may regrettably be forced to review our prices to reflect the rising costs our industry is facing.”
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