Suffolk: Beating the VATman!

SUFFOLK: Even drowning your sorrows over today’s hike on VAT is likely to cost you up to an extra 6p a pint if beer is your favourite tipple, according to experts.

However don’t despair, The Evening Star has come up with a few little tips that will hopefully shine a little light through the fiscal gloom.

Fuel costs may be at an all-time high, rail fares may be on the up, but there are still bargains to be found and considerable savings to be made if you look in the right places.

Although VAT rises from 17.5 per cent to a record 20pc today – the second increase in just over 12 months after it went up from 15pc from the start of last January – there are things we can all do to offset its effect.

Courtesy of the internet, there are various money expert sites offering sound financial advice as to how to make your cash go further.

Notifications of discounts, cut-price evenings out and advice about savings and credit cards abound.

In addition, the Star will be doing its bit to help, with many local offers through the weeks ahead.

Most Read

Meanwhile, yesterday, shoppers were out in force on the last bank holiday of the Christmas/New Year break in an attempt to find bargains before VAT went up.

Retailers will be monitoring sales over the next few weeks to see if the rise has had any impact – but January and February are always quiet months after the Christmas rush. In Ipswich, retailers have enjoyed a reasonably promising Christmas period despite the cold weather in the run-up to the holiday.

And this sense of optimism has carried over into the sale period.

Paul Clement, executive director of Ipswich Central, said: “We are currently awaiting the overall final trading figures for the town centre for the festive period, but it would appear that the post-Christmas sales have been very popular in Ipswich and trade has been good.

“However, all retailers are cautious about the VAT rise and the effect it will have on consumer confidence which seems to have been returning to the high street.”

Yesterday, the streets of the town were busy – although the sales are expected to continue for another ten days and many retailers are expected to absorb the VAT increase until they re-price goods in the spring.

William Coe, from the town’s leading independent clothing store, said yesterday that larger retailers like Coes would be able to cope with the VAT rise better than some smaller businesses.

n If you have any money saving tips, e-mail eveningstarletters@ or alternatively you can write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN

By signing up for a TV, landline and broadband package from just one supplier, you can save an average of �219 over the year.

People who switch energy firms or change from their gas and electricity provider’s standard tariff save an average of �258 a year.

Save money on your car insurance. While you don’t want to compromise on cover, you could save an average of �286 by comparing policies.

Don’t just renew your home insurance, take a few minutes to scour the market for a better deal and save an average of �132 a year.

Take advantage of discounts, vouchers and special offers by using internet money-saving comparison sites and save money every day.

Switch any outstanding credit or store card or other debt balance to a market-leading card and get up to 17 months at 0 per cent, reducing your monthly outgoings significantly.

Take advantage of the January sales with a 0pc purchase card. If you’re hitting the sales to shop, using the right credit card can mean you pay no interest for 12 months.

Overstretched yourself? Don’t worry, help is at hand. Talk to an Office of Fair Trading-approved expert and find the right solution for you. Their advice is completely confidential.