A cross-section of MPs have raised concerns in Parliament about the government’s plans to devolve decisions on Sunday trading to local authorities.
Many MPs were expecting the proposals to be included as an amendment to the Cities & Devolution Bill, which had its second reading in the House of Commons yesterday. However, this clause was not proposed as an amendment at this stage, with ministers not confirming if and when this policy would be brought into legislation.
The following MPs spoke out against relaxing Sunday trading rules in the second debate: David Burrowes (Conservative), Caroline Spelman (Conservative), Jim Shannon (DUP), Joan Ryan (Labour), Martin Vickers (Conservative), Jack Dromey (Labour), and Catherine West (Labour).
David Burrowes MP said: “If Sunday trading deregulation is tacked on quickly to the Bill at a later stage, a significant cross-party group of honoroable Members will vigorously oppose it on behalf of businesses, families and workers.”
Joan Ryan MP said: “[Deregulation would be a] change to the Sunday Trading Act 1994 that will benefit nobody, does not create jobs and harms millions of shop workers and damages our community day off—Sunday.”
Association of Convenience Stores chief executive James Lowman said he was pleased MPs from across the House were raising their concerns about the proposals to liberalise Sunday trading.
“This follows an intense period of work from ACS and other groups in the Keep Sunday Special campaign, briefing MPs about the negative economic and social impact of these proposals,” he added.
“We are now waiting to see how the government wishes to proceed, and we hope that they are listening carefully to the many voices inside and outside Parliament who believe these proposals would be damaging.”
If the government wishes to press ahead with the plans, it will have to introduce an amendment to the Cities & Devolution Bill at committee stage, likely to start next week, or consider other mechanisms for bringing the proposals into law.
It has not yet published its response to the consultation on Sunday trading devolution. The consultation closed on 16 September.