Proposal To Extend Sunday Trading In UK Rejected
The motion to extend the UK’s Sunday shopping hours to beyond the six-hour timeframe currently in place has suffered a major setback after it was defeated in the House of Commons by 31 votes.
If the change in legislation had been passed, more power would have been delegated to local councils to govern Sunday trading laws within their own jurisdictions, potentially allowing supermarkets and other retailers to open for longer periods of time.
Though members of parliament who voted against it said that it is necessary to "keep Sunday special" and protect its status as a day of rest, advocates for the change said the laws need to undergo reform in order to adapt to a world in which e-commerce plays an increasingly prominent role.
The Labour Party, the Scottish National party, the Democratic Unionists, and – crucially – 27 members of the ruling Conservative Party, voted against a change in law.
The UK planning minister Brandon Lewis said the law as it stands was designed for a market "before anyone had heard of Amazon," expressing a fear that bricks-and-mortar retailing could fall behind if such law reforms are not implemented.
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said to the Financial Times, "There are different views across retail over whether the relaxation of Sunday trading hours is a good or a bad thing for retailers and their staff.
"Of much more importance is the government’s review of the business rates system, which concludes at next week’s Budget."
Angela Eagle, the shadow business secretary, told the Guardian, "We support the current arrangements, which work well and mean retailers can trade, customers can shop, and shopworkers can spend time with their families.
"I warned the government that unless they pulled their plans then they would face a public and humiliating defeat on the floor of the House of Commons. That is exactly what we have delivered.
"The government must now listen to the settled will of the House of Commons and confirm that they will not attempt to bring back these plans, which were not in the Tory election manifesto, for a third time."
The shopworkers’ union Usdaw also welcomed the rejection.
© 2016 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Peter Donnelly. To subscribe to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine, click here