The owners of a beloved fish and chip shop have said they are "devastated" after having to raise prices due to the cost-of-living crisis.

Michael and Tracey De Marco, who own Mario’s in Giffnock, say they have been forced to make the decision to raise prices by 10% due to skyrocketing costs to run the business.

Michael says that prices have risen "across the board", including the cost of food and energy, as well as VAT for small businesses going back to 20%.

Glasgow Times: Tracey and Michael De MarcoTracey and Michael De Marco

The couple initially didn’t raise prices in April which is a decision Michael says has "bitten me on the bum".

He said: "I’m absolutely devastated about it but I’ve got no choice but to put my prices up because I’m running at a loss and what annoys me about it is I get it if you’re quiet, but I’m running about busy, busy, busy.

"Fish has went up about 30% and then oil to cook with has went up about 80%.

"Even things like pickles, rolls have went up, it’s absolutely every single thing has went up and we’re talking about anything between 15% and 60% on some things so it’s a huge, huge increase."

The Glasgow Times' Beat the Squeeze campaign has been shining a light on the cost-of-living crisis.

Glasgow Times:

He continued: "It used to always be that the fish and chip shop was the cheaper option for people to get a carry-out and now it’s become just about the most expensive one.

"You do get cheaper sausages, cheaper fish but I just don’t want to change the quality of my food."

Glasgow Times:

Michael says there has been good support from customers about the price increase but understands that they have also been affected by the rising cost of living.

He said: "About 90% have been absolutely great. You maybe have the 10% or less that say ‘I’m not paying that for that, sorry’. They look at you as if you’re robbing them.

"I have good support but at the end of the day with the cost of living for my customers, there’s only so much they can do as well.

"What I’m expecting here is a reduction in footfall, and I might end up even worse off if I’ve not got the footfall.

"It will kill me in the end, I’ve no doubt."

Glasgow Times:

Mario’s was opened by Michael’s father more than 35 years ago and after his passing, he says he put his "heart and soul" into the business.

He said: "It was my father that started the chip shop, and I don’t really want to see it go down the drain.

"I was practically born in that shop – I kid you not, my mother’s water broke in that shop and my dad was going ‘not yet, not yet’.

"I do say ‘if I let this go I let my dad down’ which isn’t really the case but that’s the way you think."

Glasgow Times:

Michael’s wife of 22 years, Tracey, says it has been "horrific" to watch Michael and other business owners struggle as they are "refused" help from the Government.

She said: "From my perspective, I’m watching my husband who has poured his entire life into this business, particularly this year.

"It’s been difficult to stand by and watch something that someone’s put their whole entire life into crumble around their ears. It’s horrific, it’s absolutely soul-destroying."

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The couple have now set up a petition asking for the Government to reduce VAT for small businesses, as Michael says he noticed a big difference when it was reduced during the pandemic.

He said: "The absolutely killer is the VAT went back to 20% at the start of April and ever since that has happened the only one that’s getting any money out of this business is the Government, that’s the bottom line.

"It doesn’t make sense to me putting VAT back to 20% because it’s basically killing businesses.

"If there’s one thing that I think can help small businesses, I really think VAT is the biggest issue of all. I just feel that 20% is an absolute nightmare."

Mario’s is located at 3 Fenwick Road in Giffnock and is open from 4pm to 10pm Sunday to Thursday and until 10.30pm on Friday and Saturday.

You can view the De Marco’s petition HERE.