Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy has urged Chancellor Gordon Brown to lay off business in today’s Budget.

Sir Terry told The Sun that the latest National Insurance tax rise will cost Tesco an extra £15m this year.

Leahy said: “Apart from this, we are paying more into our pension fund, while businesses are also paying more for their insurance.

“I think that’s enough for the time being — let’s have a period where there’s encouragement for business to increase investment.”

And he added: “Not everyone is as fortunate as Tesco in that we can absorb these costs.”

Sir Terry also told The Guardian: "We want no more taxes. Consumers are keeping the economy going and the prospect of higher taxes or interest rates would be a big hit on consumer confidence."

Shoppers, smokers, drinkers and house-buyers could be in for some increased costs when Gordon Brown stands up to deliver his Budget speech at 12.30 today.

Analysts have mooted that after the crackdown on cross-Channel smuggling a rise in tobacco prices of between 8p and 13p could be slapped on a packet of 20 cigarettes - last year it was a 6p rise.

Brown might increase duty on alcoholic products after a five-year freeze on spirits duty and a two-year hold on beer and wine brought in to beat the 'booze cruisers'.

Spread better Cantor Index expects an extra 25p-35p on spirits bottles, 1.5p-3p on beer and 9p-11p on wine.

It also expects 1.5-2.5p more on a litre of petrol.

A rise in VAT could be on the cards with some reports suggesting the 17.5% tax on goods and services could rise to 19%.