The government has agreed to devolve rules on Sunday trading hours to local councils, in a bid to boost footfall on high streets.
Speaking in parliament today (February 2) business secretary Sajid Javid said the changes would be put forward as an amendment to the Enterprise Bill.
The new powers will allow local authorities to zone any extension in hours to prioritise high streets and city centres.
The measures also give workers greater freedom to opt-out of working on Sundays - they will now be able to give one month’s notice rather than three.
Javid said: “We are a one nation government and we want to see the benefits of economic growth being felt in every corner of the country.
“These new powers are about giving local areas the choice to extend Sunday trading hours to meet the needs of their local businesses and communities. It is local people who will make the decision.
“Extending Sunday trading hours has the potential to help businesses and high streets across the UK 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.”
Jace Tyrrell, interim chief executive of the New West End Company, welcomed the government’s continued support for giving local authorities more flexibility over Sunday trading laws.
He said: “It is good news for jobs and good news for shoppers that the government has made it clear it intends to amend the Enterprise Bill to give public authorities the opportunity to have a more flexible approach to Sunday trading hours.
“Our own research shows just two extra hours of shopping in the West End and Knightsbridge would bring in £260m of additional revenue and create 2,000 new jobs. And it would end forcing tourists to choose between visiting the museums and going shopping.”