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Sir Stuart Rose believes VAT will push beyond 17.5%

Sir Stuart Rose, the chairman and chief executive of Marks & Spencer, has today forecast a very difficult period for the UK retail sector and the UK economy as a whole. After announcing better-than-expected figures from Marks & Spencer, with profits slightly up on the same period last year, he believes that the UK is effectively "skint" and the UK government will need to push up taxes in the short to medium term to refill the government coffers.

Specifically commenting upon the VAT reduction in the UK, which is set to end on 1 January when the rate returns to 17.5%, he believes that the next government in power will need to push VAT beyond 17.5% to replenish the UK plc balance sheet. This would obviously have a massive impact on the UK retail sector amid signs that an improvement in sales is starting to drop off and more and more retailers are becoming concerned about the Christmas period.

Despite the fact we have seen some good news on the retail front over the last few weeks there is still a nagging doubt that the UK economy is dragging its heels and further pain could be just around the corner for UK retailers.

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