Today new amendments have been published to the Government's Enterprise Bill ahead of the report stage debates and votes tomorrow and Wednesday. One amendment develops further the idea that councils can create zones of extended Sunday opening by allowing them to define individual stores and streets as tourist areas.
John Hannett – Usdaw General Secretary says: “The existing Sunday trading regulations are simple, popular and easily understood by retailers, shopworkers and customers. What the Government is now proposing is to take one regulation that covers the whole of England and Wales, turn it into over 300 different regulatory regimes and within each of those there can be zones down to street level.
“This is the nightmare scenario that will see retailers strangled in red tape as they try to deal with separate Sunday trading rules across the country. This complex scheme is somewhat ironic when the Government claims to champion the cutting of red tape for business.
“The proposal to have tourist zones is drawn so loosely that practically any shop could claim to be included simply because they have customers from outside the borough in which they are located. It could particularly benefit out of town retail parks over town centres. The worries of principled MPs who have deep concerns about the effects of extended Sunday trading have not been addressed.
“The current Sunday trading rules are a fair compromise, which has worked well for over 20 years, and gives everyone a little bit of what they want. Retailers can trade, customers can shop, staff can work; whilst Sunday remains a special day, different to other days, and shopworkers can spend some time with their family.”
Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fourth biggest and the fastest growing trade union with over 440,000 members. Membership has increased by more than 17% in the last five years and by nearly a third in the last decade. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the Union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.
Usdaw survey of retail staff: http://usd.aw/SundaySurveyReport
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion