Show Hide image 8 March 2011 February spending figures reveal effects of VAT rise High street spending has fallen 0.4 per cent compared with February last year. Despite a 2.3 per cent rise in high-street spending in January, February has seen a drop of 0.4 per cent, revealing a decrease in consumer confidence after the sales. With the prices of energy and food rising, consumers generally have less money to spend on non-essential items such as furniture and even clothing. Fears about job security and cuts are also feeding into consumers' frugal spending. Similarly house purchases in February dramatically slowed round the country due largely to an inability to find mortgages. With the impending public sector cuts coming into effect in April likely to impact consumer spending even more, David Cameron recently announced his plans to support small businesses through lowering taxes and removing red-tape to help economic growth. By Liam McLaughlin Liam McLaughlin is a freelance journalist who has also written for Prospect and the Huffington Post. He tweets irregularly @LiamMc108.