Jaeger and Aquascutum owner Harold Tillman has called for the government to delay the January VAT increase

Speaking on Sky’s Jeff Randall Live programme, Tillman said that due to the impact of the extreme weather on retailers, many purchases will have been deferred, and that consumers should be given extra time to buy at the lower rate.

Tillman demanded that the increase - from 17.5% to 20% - should be delayed by one month from January 4 to February 4. Although he is chairman of the British Fashion Council, he said such a move would help all retail sectors, particularly those selling so-called big-ticket items.