Last week, the government finally launched details of the consultation on plans to devolve Sunday trading regulations to local authorities. We knew that the consultation was coming after being announced in the Budget - what we weren’t expecting was how bad the government’s justification for the changes would be.
Half of the evidence that they’ve used to justify the removal of Sunday trading is from the Blair government’s report in 2006, and the other half has been so badly misinterpreted from the original research that it is almost unrecognisable.
The potential impact that these changes could have on stores must not be underestimated. When the government temporarily relaxed Sunday trading laws during the 2012 Olympics, Oxford Economics did an analysis of the lost sales to convenience stores, estimating between £9.7m and £26m in lost sales. Over the course of a year, this would amount to somewhere between £63m and £169m.
Every convenience store in England and Wales has to write to their MP opposing 24 hour Sunday trading, asking them to relay their concerns to the Prime Minister. We have a template letter available on our website at www.acs.org.uk, but we also encourage you to write your own letters, outlining the impact that removing Sunday trading regulations will have on your business.
It’s also important that we believe we can make a difference. Those of us opposing these changes - unions, church groups or small retail groups - are making headway. Now is the time to step up and play your part.