Conservative MPs Outline Support for Existing Sunday Trading Laws

ACS has welcomed a letter from campaign group Keep Sunday Special and Conservative MPs, outlining their support for the existing Sunday trading regulations.

The letter, published in the Telegraph today (11 November), details a list of 20 MPs who have called on the Government to drop the controversial plans to devolve Sunday trading powers to local authorities.

Since the announcement in this year’s budget by the Chancellor, the plans have been criticised as lacking a robust evidence base and damaging small shops. The Government’s primary justification for changing Sunday trading rules is based on a supposed economic benefit of £1.4bn a year. However, research conducted by Oxford Economics has suggested that any claims of economic benefit are overstated and that the proposals would serve only to divert trade from small stores to larger stores.

James Lowman, Association of Convenience Stores chief executive, said: “The impact of allowing large out of town stores to open whenever they like on Sundays will be devastating to both convenience stores and high streets. During the Government’s failed experiment on removing Sunday Trading laws for the Olympics in 2012, local shops lost up to 20% of their sales on Sundays while wider retail sales also fell between 0.2% and 0.4%. These plans have the potential to put thousands of small stores at risk.”

John Allan, National Chairman at the Federation of Small Businesses said: “The FSB remains deeply sceptical about the benefits of the proposed changes to Sunday trading laws, which would allow local councils to permit all-day Sunday opening by larger stores. Our members tell us that the current regime provides much needed support for smaller retailers within their communities.  We have yet to see any conclusive evidence such a move would be positive overall for local business communities. We are therefore pleased to see that the vote has been postponed. If this legislation does pass and decision-making powers on Sunday trading are devolved to local authorities, FSB regions will continue to lobby locally to ensure the wishes of local small businesses are heard and taken into account in any decision.”

James Bielby, Federation of Wholesale Distributors chief executive, said: “This proposal would divert business from small stores to larger ones, damaging local economies, reducing diversity in the retail estate and depriving communities of unique independent shops. There is no convincing economic case in favour of the change and a strong majority of the public are in favour of maintaining the current arrangement. The £30bn wholesale industry supports more than 1.1million jobs up and down the country. Changing the Sunday Trading rules would put these at risk.”

Paul Baxter, National Federation of Retail Newsagents chief executive, said: “Already hard pressed independent retailers will bear the brunt of these unwelcome proposed changes, which will result in less choice on the high street for consumers as local councils give out of town supermarkets precedence.”

The letter can be read in full here:


This entry was posted by Chris on Wed, 11/11/2015 - 11:06