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Extended Sunday trading becomes more permanent?

22 August 2012

The Government faces a backlash over possible plans to extend unrestricted Sunday trading beyond this summer.

Under current legislation, shops in England and Wales measuring more than 280 sq m (3,000 sq ft) can open for a maximum of six hours between 10am and 6pm on Sundays.

Senior Conservative ministers are keen to include unrestricted trading in the “economic regeneration” Bill in autumn in a bid to stimulate economic growth.

The Rt Rev John Pritchard, the Bishop of Oxford, signed a joint letter with the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers and the Association of Convenience Stores, describing the move as “alarming”. They argued that the temporary relaxation was only backed by many MPs and peers because they were reassured that this was “a temporary measure and not a test case for permanent relaxation of the rules”.

Certainly, the relaxation will not put more money in the pockets of shoppers. Instead, it will simply spread the cost of spending, leaving retailers with increased overheads for little or no return – not to mention the detrimental impact on smaller retailers.

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