A fish and chip shop owner told how rising costs has pushed his business to the limits - with many loyal customers no longer able to afford "the nation's favourite dish".

Matthew Konen, who runs Athena B in Portslade, revealed that the price of fish, oil and potatoes had all gone through the roof.

At the same time, customers are struggling with the cost of living crisis, meaning the traditional British takeaway is becoming an occasional treat.

His comments come amid fears thousands of chippies could go bust, with a government minister issuing a "use it or lose it" warning to the public.

Matthew, who owns the business with his mother Mary, said: "We're taking a big hit in terms of our profits. 

"Me and my mum sometimes just don't pay ourselves and go off our savings until things settle down a bit.

"In my mum's time, these are the worst price increases we've seen in the industry.

"The cost of our fish has doubled, oil has tripled, potatoes keep going up.

"On top of that, everyone has insane bills to pay themselves.

"What was a really cheap, value-for-money meal, is now becoming a treat that you get once a month.

"It's the most unperfect perfect storm."

The Argus: Matthew and his mother Mary run the popular business in PortsladeMatthew and his mother Mary run the popular business in Portslade (Image: Andrew Gardner / The Argus)

Matthew said the Station Road business, which has served customers since 1996, was now taking in 30 per cent less than this time last year. 

The family business has been forced to put up prices - with a regular cod going from £4.80 to £6.80

They have also cut opening hours from seven days a week to five, as well as removing lunchtime service, which has become less popular due to people working from home.

Matthew, who has been forced to find other income streams including teaching children Jiu Jitsu and renting out an Airbnb, says closing shop would be the last option for him.

He added: "I feel the worst for the older generation, they can't fully grasp what's going on.

"They've never really seen anything like this and for them to not be able to afford the nation's classic dish, their favourite dish...

"It's just heartbreaking seeing them rifle through their purses to see if they have enough change to get their meal."

The Argus: Matthew is doing everything he can to keep the business goingMatthew is doing everything he can to keep the business going (Image: Andrew Gardner / The Argus)

A recent report claimed that around half of Britain’s 10,500 chippies could close due to rocketing costs.

At present, as many as 5,000 fish and chip shops are thought to be struggling to stay afloat with increases to tariffs and the cost of ingredients.

Mark Spencer, Minister of State for Food, Farming and Fisheries, has called for members of the public to help save the "great British tradition" of going to the local chippy.

When asked about his comments, Matthew told The Argus: "We need to keep in mind that the majority of fish and chip shops are small businesses run by families, and if we're not using them, they will go the way of the dodo."

"They're about being the heart of a community, and if those hearts of the community are being forced to have heart attacks and die, I think it's a sad thing for for the nation. 

Matthew now hopes that the government takes action to combat rising costs, including bringing in a Vat reduction similar to the one seen during the Covid crisis.