Shoppers fill stores ahead of VAT rise

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Stores were today filled with shoppers who were in a last-minute rush to beat tomorrow's VAT rise.

London's Oxford Street was crowded with consumers as they stocked up on electrical appliances and clothes for the new year.



Abi Tucker, 22, from Kent, said: "I've come shopping because I'm worried about the increase and I don't want to be caught out by it. I've done a lot of shopping these past few days because I know things are going to get a lot pricier.



"I made sure I got my DVD player yesterday and an MP3 player today, ahead of tomorrow. I realise that it's the VAT increase on expensive products like a DVD player that will hit hardest."



The coalition Government hopes that the VAT increase from 17.5% to 20% will raise £13 billion and insists it is necessary to help reduce the UK's deficit.



But many people expressed their concern over the price hike and claimed it would decrease their spending over the coming year.



Roxanne Tomlinson, 25, from east London said: "I stocked up on electrics last week and now I'm buying clothes. I'm on maternity leave and so I haven't got any money coming in at the moment so the VAT increase will really affect me."



Also on maternity leave was Lauren Collins, 25, from east London. She said: "I think the rise is disgusting, I'm out today buying clothes for my baby because I know things will be more expensive tomorrow. I'm spending a lot of money, by the end of the day it will probably come to a couple of hundred pounds. After today I won't be in any hurry to buy clothes."



Business consultant for Accenture, William Richens, said he had been aware of the VAT increase and had come shopping to avoid spending more tomorrow.



The 23-year-old from Nottingham said: "I wanted to get my January sales purchases out of the way. I'm bulk buying a few suits and I'm about to rush around like a mad man looking for a few pairs of work shoes."



London restaurant manager Ian Taylor, 40, said: "The rise will affect everyone massively. I'm concerned by the increase as we all are. It is very worrying. It is not affecting my spending today but it will affect it in the future."



Stephanie Callender, 28, from north London, said: "I'm out looking for some bargains. After tomorrow I'm going to be looking for a bargain more than ever because I'm not going to want to pay the extra money. I'm really not happy about the increase but we don't have a choice. There's nothing we can do."



Carole Grant, 67, from Leicester, said: "I made sure I bought my television ahead of the rise and I'm out buying a few last-minute clothes today."



Lorenzo Bedino, 22, from Italy and living in London, said: "I'm just with my girlfriend trying to get a few clothes. I'm not pleased with the VAT increase and to make matters worse I've just had to pay more money for my Tube ticket because the prices have gone up."

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