MP McMahon warns of threat to our beloved chippies

Date published: 04 August 2022

More than 830 chippies across the North West are in danger of closing as rising inflation and supply issues pile pressure on fish and chip shops across the country.

Labour’s Shadow Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary and Oldham West and Royton MP, Jim McMahon, visited fish and chip businesses in the North West of England to hear of the risk to the industry.

Mr McMahon visited a potato farm in Garstang and a fish and chip restaurant in Blackpool to hear of the soaring prices and mounting pressures that put the survival of the industry at peril.

The visit comes amid new analysis by the Labour Party of figures from the National Federation of Fish Friers which suggest that 832 of the 2,500 fish and chips shops across the North West of England are at risk of closure within the next 12 months.

The Tory Government’s inaction on rising inflation and price rises caused by Putin's invasion of Ukraine are threatening an iconic British institution – the fish and chip shop.

Prices are up for fish, potatoes, cooking oil, and flour - all key ingredients for fish and chips.

Further Labour analysis has found that the price of key fish and chip ingredients has risen dramatically over the past year, at an average of 13.3%.

Potatoes are up by 9.4%, fish by 8%, flour and cereals by 19.3% and oils and fats by 16.6%.

Consumers want local British food on their plates – which in turn is better for the environment and our food security, the risks to which are laid bare by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The UK currently imports large quantities of whitefish from Russia and sunflower oil from Ukrainian fields, with supplies of both now being seriously constrained.

Andrew Crook, President of the National Federation of Fish Friers, said: “Our iconic fish and chip industry is facing its biggest threat in its 162-year history with soaring ingredient costs, high energy bills and staff shortages.

"A combination of post pandemic inflation and the effects of the conflict in Ukraine is having a huge impact on my industry so we support Mr McMahon’s calls to support the sector.

“Although fish and chips are taking the brunt of this situation, we do feel the entire hospitality sector needs a complete rethink and we call for a long-term strategy so we can grow and help the economy recover. 

"We don’t want handouts; we want a fair system that doesn’t put good operators at a disadvantage.”

Mr McMahon said: “The Conservative cost of living crisis is threatening one of Britain’s favourite meals, fish and chips, and hardworking family-run chippies across the country.

“While the Tories are preoccupied with a self-indulgent leadership contest, chippies across the North West, from Weaver Vale to West Lancashire, and Bury to here in Blackpool, are at risk of closure due to the Tory cost of living crisis.

“We are witnessing the potential decline of a true British institution and an affordable, much-loved family meal.

"Brits coined the phrase “as cheap as chips” to signify the affordability of the dish, but the phrase now rings hollow, a sign of just how bad things have got.

‘’Labour would support British chippies by scrapping and replacing business rates with a fairer system which helps our high streets thrive."

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