Shropshire Star

Telford fish and chip shop pair fear they have to close as costs rocket

A couple who run a Telford fish and chip shop face a 'crunch month' which could see them have to close the business they love.

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Sophie Hodgkinson and her Bledi Piperi at Ye Olde Victorian Fryer

Sophie Hodgkinson and her partner Bledi Piperi face having to shut Ye Olde Victorian Fryer, in Trench, after being battered by rising fish and cooking oil costs, a fuel hike of around £4,000 a month and a VAT bill of around £15,000.

It comes as more and more fish and chip shops - traditionally Britain's favourite meal - face hardship or extinction, with the price of potatoes set to rise this week as well.

The Shropshire Star told on Tuesday of how the Trish and Chips mobile fish and chip van has gone out of business after owners Alan and Trish Kelly could no longer afford the costs associated with it.

Sophie, who has run her business since October last year said she was 'heartbroken' that it might come to shutting down but she faced little other choice.

She said: "Me and Bledi have got a meeting with the landlords of the shop, who have been great, and we may be able to negotiate a rent reduction but that will only go a small way to helping us.

"It is the costs of raw goods and now the hike in utility bills that will probably decide the situation. It would be a shame if we do shut because this was a long established chip shop before we came here and other owners have done well with it and gone on to retire. The landlords are also upset at the thought of it no longer continuing.

"At first we were doing OK but this year has seen price hikes chipping away at any profits we do make. The VAT bill was a body blow and now we are faced with a 400 per cent increase in utility bills.

"We have tried to negotiate on those with the energy comapnies but they seem to come up with a figure that is even higher than what we have been quoted.

"We have calculated to make a decent living we would have to charge over £10 for fish and chips. We have already put the prices up a couple of times and there is only so many times you can do that.

Experts believe the price of fish and chips will rise again in September, with the prices in cooking oil, fish and potatoes set to keep rising.

Sophie said: "We have put a one-month deadline on it because that is also giving the landlord some notice but unless that changes we are going to have to reluctantly hand it over to someone else or it will shut down completely."