A range of concerns have been raised about the government’s plans to change the Sunday Trading Act 1994 in order to devolve Sunday trading rules to local areas.
The government announced plans in February this year to allow local authorities to extend Sunday trading laws. The decision came after a public consultation that closed in September last year and attracted over 7,000 responses.
Existing arrangements works well. Shops are able to open, customers to use them and shopworkers to spend time with their families. That is why I opposed the government. The government was defeated by 317 votes to 286.
I hope that the measures will now be abandoned.
The majority of the public support the existing Sunday trading rules. Indeed, before the 2015 General Election the Conservative Party claimed that it had no plans to change the current rules on Sunday trading stating that the current rules provided ‘a reasonable balance’.
I know that a number of organisations, such as the shopworkers’ union Usdaw, the Association of Convenience Stores and the ‘Keep Sunday Special’ campaign group also expressed deep concerns about the government’s proposals.
Should this issue return to Parliament, I will continue to listen to shopworkers and their families, and small businesses, and support the current arrangements.