Walsall South Labour MP Valerie Vaz has introduced an Early Day Motion (EDM) to Parliament calling on the government to maintain the existing Sunday trading legislation.
An EDM is a form of parliamentary petition which MPs can sign to show their support for a particular issue. Last week Vaz challenged the new Leader of the House Andrew Lansley to instigate a full debate on Sunday trading regulations, which independent retailers fear will be relaxed permanently in the wake of the temporary suspension for the Olympic period. She also called for assurances that retail staff, trade unions, churches and the Association of Convenience Stores be included in any future consultation that may be held on Sunday trading.
In response, Lansley said: “I do not think there is any variance between what the government said when we introduced the legislation about the extension of Sunday trading hours during the summer and what has been said subsequently.”
Vaz added: “Sunday trading regulations help support small businesses by allowing them to open for longer than the larger stores over the weekend.
“The government has been sending mixed messages about their plans to extend the relaxation of Sunday trading restrictions beyond the end of the Olympic and Paralympic games. If they do decide to proceed with this policy, it could affect the viability of many small businesses. They play a key role in local communities.”
The full text of the motion (EDM 519) runs as follows:
‘That this House notes the deregulation of Sunday trading hours during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games; is concerned that this deregulation will open the door for more permanent changes to the Sunday Trading Act 1994; agrees that retail workers should only work voluntarily on Sundays; supports the current policy that shops should have restricted opening hours on public holidays; further agrees that if shops were to open on these days, staff should be allowed to work voluntarily and with premium pay; is further concerned that Sunday trading restrictions will be altered; calls for the rights of retail workers to be protected in future policy on Sunday trading; and further calls on the Government to ensure that Sunday trading restrictions continue in line with the Sunday Trading Act 1994.’