'Keeping our heads above water': One of Leeds's oldest fish and chip shops fighting to survive following cost of living increase

One of Leeds's oldest fish and chip shops is fighting to survive as industry leaders warn that the increased cost of living could prove devastating for the industry.

By Alex Grant
Monday, 9th May 2022, 4:30 pm

Mark Savage, owns The Village Fish Shop in Shadwell, which has been serving up fried fish since at least 1911.

Read More

Read More
Man arrested over theft of David Oluwale plaque in Leeds

Speaking to the YEP, he explained how the cost of living has had an impact on his business.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Mark Savage with his sons Oliver and Joseph, owns The Village Fish Shop in Shadwell. Picture: Gary Longbottom.

"The price of gas trebled, my electric bill doubled, the price of fish has rocketed up." he said.

"From being a profitable business we are just keeping our heads above water now and that's about it. That's where we are."

Mark was brought up at the fish and chip shop and still owns it and lives on the property, which was built in 1637 and is the oldest building in Shadwell.

Mark's mother and father, Hazel and Geoffrey bought the shop in 1971 having previously owned a fish and chip shop in Harehills.

"I was born into the business 56 years ago and have worked in the trade since I was 13 but I have never known times to be so tough when everything seems to be going against us." Mark said.

"We don't enjoy putting our prices up but we have had to do it three times in the last 10 months just through circumstance."

Industry expert, Andrew Crook, president of the Leeds-based National Federation of Fish Friers, has previously warned that fish and chip shops could close in big numbers 'over the next five years'

The industry has been suffering massively from inflated costs for ingredients, and has called on the Government to introduce VAT relief for business owners.

For Mark, circumstances have been made worse by the war in Ukraine with 40 per cent of their fish stock coming from Russia but is confident the industry will endure.

"Our utilities have massively gone up and obviously staffing so everything points to sadness but we are a robust industry that has been around for 160 years and we will keep going." he said.

"My glass is always half full but you have got to be realistic. My message to the public is to please keep fish and chip shops at the heart of your community."

"Every community needs a fish and chip shop." he added.