Sunday opening hours for large retailers to remain unchanged

There is to be no change to current Sunday shopping hours, trade and industry secretary Alistair Darling announced today.

The Sunday trading laws, which restrict large shops to opening for six hours, have been in place for 10 years and the Department of Trade and Industry recently undertook a review to see if there was a need for change.

But following the review, which included an independent cost-benefit analysis and consultation with stakeholders, the government has decided to retain the restrictions.

“With the Sunday trading laws having been in place for many years, it was important that we looked at whether they were still appropriate,” Darling said.

“We received nearly 1,000 responses to the consultation from consumers, religious groups, employees and business, with no substantial demand for change.

“On that basis, and having considered all the evidence from the review, we have concluded there should be no change to the Sunday trading laws.”

The move has be welcomed by retail union Usdaw, which has been running a ‘Save Our Sundays’ campaign since April this year.

Its survey of 4,000 UK shopworkers revealed that 94% were opposed to extending shopping hours on Sundays for large stores as it would have had “a catastrophic impact” on their family lives.

Britain is the most deregulated retail environment in Europe,” said John Hannett, general secretary of Usdaw.  “All our members want is the right to a sensible proper work-life balance, and thanks to this wise decision, they will be able to enjoy quality time with their loved ones on Sundays.”

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