Today the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, announced his Summer Budget 2015. In relation to Sunday trading it said:
1.289 To ensure that local areas have a greater say over their own economies, the government will consult on devolving powers on Sunday trading to city mayors and local authorities. This will look at allowing mayors or councils to extend Sunday trading for additional hours within parameters that they would determine.
Devolution and Local Growth
1.289 To ensure that local areas have a greater say over their own economies, the government will consult on devolving powers on Sunday trading to city mayors and local authorities. This will look at allowing mayors or councils to extend Sunday trading for additional hours within parameters that they would determine.”
No costing were allocated to these provisions. They were anticipated in the Church of England Daily Digest of 7 July which summarized the linked reports in the media:
“Reports the Chancellor, George Osborne will use his first Budget to begin shakeup of Sunday trading laws that currently prevent businesses opening for more than six hours. He said that, “there is still a growing appetite for shopping on a Sunday” and that businesses need the change so they can compete with online retailers. Under the plans, Sunday trading hours will become a devolved issue, meaning that mayors and local councils will be able to decide how long shops can open for. They state the Church of England has made clear its opposition to a change in Sunday trading rules last year and is quoted saying, ‘We believe that for family stability and community life, as many people as possible should have the possibility of a common day off every week.’”
In the previous coalition government, gave the following written answer on Norman Lamb, Minister for Employment Relations and Consumer Affairs:
“[t]he temporary suspension of Sunday trading restrictions [within the Sunday Trading (London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games) Act 2012] is not a trial and will assist in ensuring that visitors to the Olympics can take full advantage of all the UK has to offer, including its world-class shops. It is not a pilot for a wider liberalization of Sunday trading, nor will the Bill contain powers for wider liberalization. Should the Government ever decide that a more permanent suspension of the Sunday trading rules is necessary, legislation and a full consultation would be required.”
These aspects of Sunday shopping are covered more fully in our post London Olympics and Sunday Shopping, and we will analyse the provisions in the forthcoming Consultation when it is published.