Keep Sunday Special has launched a new campaign against devolving the current Sunday trading laws.
A letter to the Prime Minister from a wide range of Keep Sunday Special supporters, including the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), says changes to current Sunday shopping hours bow to pressure from large retailers, and would cause confusion with different councils setting different local rules.
It would also contravene the Prime Minister’s own family-friendly policy agenda launched last year, the letter argues.
The letter states: “Sunday shopping hours represent a valued compromise allowing people to shop, retailers to trade and to spend time with their families. Polling from February 2015 showed that 76% of the public support existing Sunday trading hours and don’t want to see any change.”
The Keep Sunday Special Campaign is supported by a range of small business organisations, churches and shop workers to deliver three simple facts:
- The public support the existing compromise.
- Sundays are special day for families and communities.
- Any change in the law will damage small businesses.
Keep Sunday Special research director John Ashcroft said: “If one local area deregulates Sunday trading others will be forced to follow suit.
“Spreading existing sales over a longer period will mean fewer people are able to choose to spend time with family and friends, fewer people enjoy quieter mornings with less traffic, and the distinctive freedoms and opportunities of a different day will be eroded.”
ACS chief executive James Lowman added: “Every figure that the government has put forward to justify the case for changing Sunday trading regulations is significantly flawed.
“Sunday trading regulations as they stand are a popular compromise that provide crucial support for thousands of local shops. There was no robust case for changing Sunday Trading hours in 2006, no case in 2012 after the Olympic Games and there remains no case in 2015.”
Also supporting the campaign, NFRN chief executive Paul Baxter said the proposed changes would have “a devastating impact on independent retailers’ businesses, leading to further decay of the high street.”
“The government continues to suggest that these changes will even the playing field for retailers against their competitors, yet we are alert to the fact that previous relaxation of these laws lead only to the spread of spending, rather than an increase,” he added.
For more information about Keep Sunday Special, visit www.keepsundayspecial.org.uk