Local authorities will have the opportunity to extend Sunday trading hours from autumn, the government confirmed today as it introduced the proposals as an amendment to the Enterprise Bill.
Sunday trading hours could be relaxed
The new powers are intended to give local high streets more flexibility to adjust hours to compete with online retailers and take advantage of tourist spend. According to Visit Britain, in Sweden full deregulation has increased turnover by 5%.
Business minister Anna Soubry said: “Extending Sunday shopping hours has the potential to help businesses and high streets better compete as our shopping habits change.
“The rights of shop workers are key to making these changes work in everyone’s interests. We are protecting those who do not wish to work Sundays, and those who do not want to work more than their normal Sunday working hours.”
The new powers will allow local authorities to zone any extension in hours to prioritise high streets and city centres. They will also allow shop workers in England, Scotland and Wales the chance to opt out of working Sundays if they want to, for example on religious grounds or family reasons.
Workers will now be able to give one month’s notice to large shops that they no longer want to work on Sundays, down from the previous three months, and will have a new right to opt out of working additional hours.
Today is the first day of committee stage of the Enterprise Bill. There are a further three sittings scheduled, finishing on February 25.