Leading retailers have increased their prices on key lines just weeks ahead of announcing a VAT freeze, a report this morning claims.

According to the Daily Telegraph, retailers including Tesco, Boots and Morrisonsincreased the prices on thousands of products over the past eight weeks, thereby enabling them to claim they weren’t passing on the VAT increase at the end of this month.

For example Tesco yesterday claimed to be freezing the price of Fairy Non-Bio at £4.50 as part of its VAT freeze. However, the product was selling at £4 in October. Meanwhile Boots increased the prices of 1,500 products and Morrisons 400 products earlier this month, the report claims.

The retailers involved claimed the price increases were nothing to do with the increase in VAT.