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Pubs & shops prepare for £1.5bn spending spree as Brits raise glass to Covid vaccine

A £1.5BILLION spending spree in hard-hit pubs and shops today will help to kick-start Britain’s battered economy.

“Stupor Saturday” drinkers will raise a glass to the Covid jab, while Christmas shoppers enjoy price cuts of up to 80 per cent in stores.

The boost comes on the first non-working day since lockdown ended.

The Campaign for Real Ale’s Tom Stainer said: “The Great British pub needs the great British public in its hour of need.”

High streets will be the busiest they have been all year — as the NHS prepares to take delivery of two million vaccine doses by the end of next week.

Shoppers are expected back in huge numbers on the first weekend following a month of lockdown.

More than 300,000 people are due in London’s West End, 150,000 at Birmingham’s Bullring and 120,000 at Manchester’s Trafford Centre.

Retail chiefs urged them to shop responsibly — with extended opening hours giving more time and opportunity to socially distance.

They also stressed that every pound spent helps protect jobs and support local communities.

Meanwhile, a million more vaccine doses are now scheduled for delivery next week — taking the total to more than two million.

With each person requiring two shots it means enough doses for a million Brits.

The NHS starts vaccinations on Tuesday from 50 hospital hubs and will need time to get up to speed. Staff at University Hospital Coventry ran through the drill yesterday.

The NHS expects to reach “tens of thousands” of people in the first week, including patients aged over 80 already in hospital.

Some care home workers will be invited for a jab and remaining stock will be offered to NHS staff at the end of each day.

A source said: “There will be enough Covid vaccines in the country next week to give around a million people two doses each.

“Even more will arrive before the end of the year. It is down to the NHS to start getting needles into arms as quickly as possible.”

Two in three Brits are now happy to shop in store, a Centre for Retail Research study showed.

The centre’s Prof Joshua Bamfield said: “People will spend as they want to end a miserable year in a memorable way.

“The determination to have a good Christmas can outweigh Covid concerns and dented consumer confidence.”

the sun