Council spends thousands telling chip shops how to fry

Emma Woollacott
Fish and chip shop sign illuminated at night, Harwich, Essex
Fish and chip shop sign illuminated at night, Harwich, Essex

The chip shop leaflet
The chip shop leaflet

Bemused fish and chip shop owners are questioning the sense in spending thousands of pounds of taxpayers' money on a guide to frying chips.

Cheltenham Borough Council has sent chip shops a six-page guide (snippet pictured above) detailing ways to make their fries less unhealthy. It covers everything from how thick each chip should be - at least 14mm, apparently - to how effective salt shakers should be.

It covers the ideal temperature of the oil, recommending that chippies use sunflower or rapeseed oil, rather than beef fat. Chip shops should use salt shakers with fewer holes, reads the guide, and offer different portion sizes: "This will allow you to charge more for the bigger portions," it says.

"Even if businesses can only make a few small changes, it will
improve the overall nutritional value of the food they are selling. Some of the tips could also help business to save money."

According to the Gloucestershire Echo, the council has spent £3,000 distributing the guide to local chippies. And many of them are not amused.

"If you have been in the business like me since 1980 you don't need to be told how to do the chips," Andreo Michael, owner of the Norwood Fish Bar told the paper. "Some people might need telling, but I don't need them telling me what to do."

And James Ritchie, co-owner of Simpsons Fish and Chips, said that if he needed advice he'd go to the National Federation of Fish Fryers for advice, rather than the council.

Article continues below

Councils Funding 'Fair for All Parts of the Country'
Councils Funding 'Fair for All Parts of the Country'

Despite the fact that councils are increasingly finding it hard to make ends meet, they are often accused of wasting money on pointless initiatives. This time last year, Coventry City Council, for example, sent out 5,000 leaflets explaining to householders how to put out their wheelie bins at the perfect angle.

Last December, Wolverhampton City Council went one better by sending out 166,000 leaflets - that warned people not to recycle shiny wrapping paper. Residents pointed out that the council was creating a mountain of waste paper itself.

And, just last month, Torquay Council came under fire when it was revealed that it had spent over £11,000 planting a single palm tree - and then moving it to a different spot.

Last year, communities secretary Eric Pickles called on councils to stop spending millions of pounds on translating leaflets and documents into foreign languages.

"Stopping the automatic use of translation and interpretation services into foreign languages will provide further incentive for all migrant communities to learn English, which is the basis for an individual's ability to progress in British society," he said.

"It will promote cohesion and better community relations. And it will help councils make sensible savings."

Read more on AOL Money:

Torquay Council blew £11,400 on a single palm tree

Why did the council destroy a £400,000 Banksy?

Report reveals council pay 'rich list'