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Budget to Include Shake Up of Sunday Trading Laws
Chancellor George Osborne, is expected to announce sweeping changes to Sunday trading laws in tomorrow’s budget. Opening hours for larger retail stores are currently restricted to six hours on Sundays, while small shops covering less than 280 square metres can open all day.
The new proposals will see responsibility for trading laws given to individual towns and cities, leaving them to decide how long stores can stay open. Mr. Osborne hopes the move will provide a welcome economic boost as well as allowing shops to compete with on line sales.
“Even two decades on from the introduction of the Sunday Trading Act, it is clear that there is still a growing appetite for shopping on a Sunday. There is some evidence that transactions for Sunday shopping are actually growing faster than those for Saturday,” He said. “The rise of online shopping, which people can do round the clock, also means more retailers want to be able to compete by opening for longer at the weekend. But this won’t be right for every area, so I want to devolve the power to make this decision to mayors and local authorities.”
The six hour rule was relaxed in July 2012 resulting in a big increase in sales, the coalition government however opposed a permanent change, insisting that a compromise between traders, shop workers, the public and religious organisations should be maintained. Recent research by the New West End Company has suggested that two extra hours of Sunday trading could create nearly 3,000 jobs in London alone.