A HEXHAM fish and chip shop owner has spoken out on the impact of rising costs and supply issues on the industry.

The National Federation of Fish Friers has warned that key ingredients that make up a traditional fish and chip meal are being affected by the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Natalie Paxton, of Paxton's Fish and Chips in the Market Place, said prices for fish are at a 'record high'.

She said the cost for a box of fish, which is around 60 pieces, has 'more or less doubled' in the last two years.

"What we were paying £140 for, we're now paying £265 at the minute," she said.

"And it's only going in one direction at the moment, and that is up."

Fish and chip shops are also facing rising energy prices, an increase in packaging costs, as well as a return to being charged full VAT after a reduction during the pandemic.

As a result, Natalie said they have had to put their prices up three times in as many months.

"We hate doing it but we can't keep taking a hit," she said.

"Fish is about the same price as steak to buy raw, but fish is still regarded as a cheap meal.

"We like to get the best in, we don't want to go down to small, diddy fillets. We're continuing to buy the chunky 10-12oz fillets which our customers like and they seem to be ok paying for it.

"But we do have a varied menu that caters for every budget."

40 per cent of white fish such as cod and haddock is provided by Russia, which the UK has sanctioned.

"At the minute we've only got the fish from Iceland to rely on," said Natalie.

"Thankfully, our customers are being really supportive because we don't know one week to the next whether we're going to have cod, or whether we're going to have haddock."

Despite the challenges they are facing, Natalie, whose family has run the fish and chip shop since 1982, said they are remaining positive.

"We've been here so long," she said. "And we've got such lovely customers who have been coming to us for years."