The Chancellor on Budget Day. Photo: HM Treasury
The chancellor George Osborne is expected to announce that Sunday trading laws will be suspended for 8 weeks from July 22nd during the Olympics and Paralympic Games in next week’s budget.
The Sunday Trading Act 1994 stipulates that shops over 280 square metres are restricted to 6 hours of continuous trading between 10am and 6pm on Sundays.
The government hopes that visitors to the Olympics will take advantage of the extended hours to shop before and after games events, thus boosting the UK economy.
But some MPs have already criticised the move saying that the Chancellor should have consulted first before making his announcement. Tory MP Nadine Dorries said this on twitter: ‘Arrogant to impose without debate and vote of whole house’.
The change will require emergency legislation which will have to be passed through the houses of Parliament and is likely to face opposition.
Without a change in the law, the three biggest souvenir shops at the Olympic village in Stratford would have had to close their doors before 6pm missing out on spectators leaving events.
Details of the plans emerged as Mr Osborne said in the Budget he wanted “to ensure it is the working person who gets most support”.
He is due to meet Prime Minister David Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander to discuss the final details tomorrow.
When the idea has been talked about in the past, it has faced opposition not only from Church leaders and trade unions, but also from small businesses who fear that they will be the ones to lose out. The change in legislation would after all benefit those larger businesses, such as supermarkets, department stores, garden centres and retail parks who currently are restricted by the Trading Act.
And while the relaxation of the law is a temporary proposal, there are fears that if the change is economically successful it may become a permanent move.
These shopkeepers, all located very close to a big supermarket have differing views on the matter…..
Shaheen from T&S Halal Meat pointed out that the supermarket brings in custom to the area. Because he provides specialist products, he’s not concerned about the increased competition.
But for Thomas from Pep Traditional, a small convenience store, the change in the law is a real worry. he told me that Sunday is the only good trading day for them.
And Hassan from Costcutters agrees.
Let us know how you think this could affect your business…..