Budget: Chancellor to Press Ahead with Harmful and Unnecessary Sunday Trading Changes

The Association of Convenience Stores has heavily criticised plans introduced in the Budget to allow local authorities to decide whether to remove Sunday Trading rules.

During today’s Budget, the Chancellor confirmed that the Government will seek to devolve powers to change Sunday Trading rules to local authorities as part of the Enterprise Bill.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We are extremely disappointed that this Government has failed to keep its promise to thousands of independent retailers on Sunday Trading. Current Sunday Trading rules are a popular measure with the general public, with fewer than one in ten people wanting to see the rules abandoned. The plans outlined today will serve only to displace trade from small stores into larger stores, and could make many small stores operating on the edge of profitability unviable.

“ACS will fight this unnecessary, complicated and harmful plan and will campaign throughout the year to ensure that our existing Sunday Trading rules are retained.”

Research on the issue of Sunday Trading has revealed the following:

  • 76% of the public are in favour of the current Sunday Trading regulations (ComRes, February 2015)
  • Of those who want a change in the law, 60% want further restrictions on Sunday opening hours (ComRes, February 2015)
  • During the temporary liberalisation of Sunday Trading in 2012, retail sales for August fell 0.4% compared to the previous year (BRC/KPMG)

Government has extensively considered changes to Sunday trading rules through the Red Tape Challenge, the Retail Growth Review and a temporary removal during the 2012 Olympic Games. In all cases, a clear decision was made that Sunday trading rules as they stand are an effective and valued compromise for all interested parties.

At the end of April this year, the Prime Minister’s office wrote to campaign group Keep Sunday Special, advising them that “we have no current plans to relax the Sunday Trading laws” and that “we believe that the current system provides a reasonable balance between those who wish to see more opportunity to shop in large stores on a Sunday, and those who would like to see further restrictions.”

For more information, please contact ACS Head of Communications Chris Noice on 01252 533013. 

This entry was posted by Chris on Wed, 08/07/2015 - 13:08