Independent shops won’t bow down to the VAT hike

CONCERNS surrounding the increase in VAT have been a matter of national debate for some time.

But while some big high street names are openly not raising their prices in spite of the VAT rise, it also seems to be a move that some independent stores are taking.

A number of shops in Berkhamsted and Tring have advertised the fact that prices will not be going up for customers.

Colton Footwear, in High Street, Berkhamsted, is one family-owned business not putting prices up.

Owner Richard Potter said: “We haven’t put up our prices due to VAT. Because other people have put it up we decided we wouldn’t.

“Customers like to know they’re getting a good deal. But I don’t think it’s a very big issue, it’s only a massive deal if you’re buying something really expensive like a car.”

Another shop biting the VAT bullet is Temptation Gifts in High Street, Berkhamsted.

Assistant manager Christian Adams said: “We value our customers. In hard times if we can help, we will.”

Berkhamsted councillor David Collins said: “All businesses have to make their own commercial decisions.

“But I think what this shows is the strength of the independent retail sector in Berkhamsted. The council will always try and support local businesses.”

Berkhamsted’s independent cinema The Rex is also making a stand on VAT.

Labelling the rise to 20 per cent as ‘criminal’ in its latest programme, the cinema has chosen to absorb the 2.5 per cent increase.

Instead, ticket prices will remain the same with cinema-goers given the option of paying an additional £1 to cover the VAT-hike if they want to do so.

Tring hardware shop FW Metcalfe & Sons is another independent store not raising prices due to the VAT hike.

Partner Jo Lace said: “We want to save our customers from any additional costs.

“Prices from our suppliers have been going up consistently throughout the year.

“Also pricing every single item again is a pain, especially in a shop like ours.”

Tring councillor Nick Hollinghurst said: “It’s a good thing that they’re absorbing the cost of the VAT rise instead of passing it on to customers.

“They’re determined to keep their business in the face of competition from larger chains

“If you voluntarily absorb cost, it is a bit of a sacrifice but it is also a strong gesture of support with their customers.”