Jun 23, 2020
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No change to UK Sunday trading as MPs revolt against plan

Jun 23, 2020

The Government has dropped plans to extend Sunday trading hours after facing opposition from more than 50 backbench Conservative MPs.

Boris Johnson’s plan for boosting the UK economy was to relax Sunday trading laws for a year, allowing large retailers to open for more than six hours on Sundays. 

The idea was met with criticism from various MPs as well as the UK’s fifth biggest trade union Usdaw, which branded the attempt “bad for business”. 

“Retailers have mixed views over the benefits of opening longer on Sundays and we have repeatedly demonstrated that it would be bad for business. Opening for longer will increase overheads but not necessarily take any more cash through the tills. The fact is that customers will not have more to spend just because the shops are open for longer,” Paddy Lillis, general secretary at Usdaw said earlier this month.

According to the Telegraph, over 50 Conservative MPs signed a letter sent to Prime Minister Boris Johnson warning him that they were prepared to vote against the plan.

Former Conservative minister David Jones, told the paper: “There are over 50 MPs who oppose it, Labour certainly would have opposed it. I think rather than being seen to do a U-turn the Government decided not to bring it on in the first place. 

“This is the right thing to do. A lot of smaller shops have been a lifeline for people during the Covid-19 outbreak. This move would have seen trade diverted away from the local shops and it does seem a bit unnecessary to put the boot into them at this particular juncture.” 

The change aimed to support retailers with social distancing and offer more convenience to shoppers.

The initiative is one of several being reviewed by the UK Government to support retailers as lockdown restrictions continue to be eased. 

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