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Rising price of Britain's favorite dish highlights scale of cost of living crisis

People across the UK are witnessing a sharp decline in their living standards amid soaring prices of fish and chips, a well-recognized national dish and cultural symbol that used to be affordable for many households.

At a local fish and chip takeaway store in suburban London, the price for a large portion of fish and chips is approaching 10 pounds, having increased more than a quid from last year. 

"Last year my regular [portion of] cod was 7.25 (pounds), and my large was 8.50 (pounds)," said Barry Singh, owner of the fish and chips shop. 

The inflation rate in the United Kingdom surged in July this year and has stayed above 10 percent, making the recent months one of the highest periods of inflation in the country for almost 40 years. 

In addition, the British government raised import tariffs on Russian exports to the UK, including on seafood, which has worsened the situation and impacted on fish and chips stores. 

Singh tried his best to save operational costs with less customers dropping in, by shutting down fryers and turning off fridges to save some energy, which has turned exorbitantly expensive. 

"Having to turn off all of our machines and then restarting that up, it would take a couple of minutes, up to 10 minutes, to restart them and get them warm again. We are struggling in the sense that; when we are quiet, I have still got to pay our staff. When we are busy, I can't hire any more staff because I can't afford to do so," he said. 

The British government did offer households and enterprises energy bill subsidies, but the continuous increase on relevant cost seems certain in October. 

"Unfortunately, we are thinking about increasing the price, we are trying to hold back as much as we can. We've seen a decline in sales as well, and I'm just scared about putting the prices up and the lack of customers walking through the door," Singh said. 

According to Bank of England predictions, British families are facing the most severe decline of living standard in the last 60 years. 

The Bank of England had earlier raised the benchmark interest rate to 2.25 percent, the highest since the 2008 financial crisis, and introduced the biggest tax cut in 50 years in the hope of curbing inflation and spurring the national economy. 

New Prime Minister Liz Truss has faced a turbulent time in her first month in office, with the pound falling to a record low against the dollar last Monday after a mini-budget was announced several days before.

(Source: Reuters)

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