The Association of Convenience Stores is helping to co-ordinate a mass lobbying campaign of Parliament on Monday 29 February as legislation devolving Sunday opening hours to local authorities reaches a crucial stage.

The mass lobby, being organised by campaign group Keep Sunday Special, will call on MPs from pivotal constituencies in the Sunday trading debate to hear from retailers, shopworkers, faith groups and industry experts on the damage that changes to Sunday trading rules will do to the UK economy and society.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “The government’s arguments make the assumption that people will have more money to spend just because the shops are open longer. This is obviously not the case. We know that what actually happens when Sunday trading rules are removed is that small stores lose out when trade is diverted to larger supermarkets, and ultimately there will be a net loss of jobs.

“It’s essential that we get our message across to MPs ahead of a vote on the issue. We need retailers to come down to Parliament on Monday afternoon and make their voices heard.”

Devolution of Sunday Trading forms part of The Enterprise Bill, which is due to go through its Parliamentary committee stage on Thursday (25 Feb). The report stage, at which MPs will have the opportunity to debate the Bill, should follow next week.

In its response to last year’s consultation on the issue, the government claimed that the measure would “provide businesses with more flexibility so they are better able to compete with online retailers”.

It said that 76% of local authorities and large business organisations that responded to the consultation were in favour of devolution, including Selfridges, Harrods and Lidl.

The lobby will take place at the Houses of Parliament between 1pm and 4pm on Monday 29 February in Committee Room 14, moving to Committee Room 12 between 4pm and 5pm. If you would like to attend, please contact Steve Dowling on 01252 533009.