Local shops: PM wrong on Sunday trading

The Association of Convenience Stores has labelled the Prime Minister’s response to a question on Sunday trading as 'ill-informed' and 'incorrect' on key details of the current law and the debate about devolving decision-making to local authorities.

ACS chief executive, James Lowman said: “The Prime Minister has incorrectly suggested that extending Sunday trading hours would create jobs, when recent research by Oxford Economics shows a net loss of jobs from longer opening hours for large stores.  This is because extending hours would not create any additional consumer spending, so the same trade would be displaced from small to large stores, as we saw during the suspension of Sunday trading hours during the 2012 Olympics.

“David Cameron is also clearly ill-informed about what the current Sunday trading hours are.  He says that customers walk around stores 'for hours' before being able to buy products, yet browsing time in large stores is typically half an hour and never more than an hour.

“It is disappointing that the Prime Minister has changed his tune since the election campaign, when he stated that he supported the current compromise on Sunday trading.  These plans did not appear in the Conservative manifesto, and the Social Market Foundation has shown how they disregard the Prime Minister's own Family Test."

David Cameron's office confirmed earlier this year that he had no plans to change the current Sunday trading laws. The letter sent by his office to Keep Sunday Special can be viewed here: http://www.keepsundayspecial.org.uk/sites/keepsundayspecial.org.uk/files/downloadables/cameron_letter_2.pdf ACS is working with other opponents of extended Sunday trading hours to lobby MPs and peers ahead of voting on an amendment to the Cities & Devolution Bill, which the Prime Minister confirmed will be the vehicle for bringing forward devolution of Sunday trading hours.  

Transcript of exchange regarding a question on Sunday trading laws during Prime Ministers Questions on 21st October:

Susan Elan Jones MP (Labour): "Following an extensive public consultation, the government's retail sector champion, Kevin Hawkins, described our current Sunday trading laws as a workable compromise that most people seem satisfied with most of the time. Does the Prime Minister agree with him?"

David Cameron - Prime Minister (Conservative): "I don't agree. I think there is a strong case for change. But I think it's a change that we should allow local authorities to decide and that's why we'll be putting it in front of the House, in the Cities and Devolution Bill, the opportunity for that to happen.

"But let me just give the Honourable Lady in the House two examples of where I don't think the current situation works. "You've got these restrictions on opening hours for many stores  that families would like to shop in, and you have to go to these stores and you have to walk around for hours before you're actually allowed to buy anything.

"The second point I would make is that you can shop on Sunday. You can shop anywhere on Sunday. You can do it on the internet and I think it's time to modernise our approach to give families more choice and help create jobs at the same time."

This entry was posted by Victoria on Wed, 21/10/2015 - 13:04