Last week campaign group ‘Keep Sunday Special’ threatened the UK government with legal action over their proposed plans to extend Sunday trading hours. The group issued a ‘letter before action’ outlining plans for a judicial review to examine the government’s idea to allow councils to let shops extend their Sunday opening times.
Keep Sunday Special argue that the government used poorly-sourced evidence as the basis for their original review of Sunday trading practices and that they have not examined how any changes to the existing laws might impact families or society in general.
Speaking to the Telegraph, a spokesperson for the group said:
“We do not enter into this action lightly, and do so with a heavy heart.
“There are fundamental flaws in the process that the Government has taken and full consideration is needed, not the inadequate process that has taken place to date.”
James Lowman, chief executive of the Association of Convenience Stores agrees with the group’s stance and suggests that the government should think more about the impact of any changes before making a decision:
“Longer opening hours will serve only to benefit out-of-town stores, whilst hurting high streets, Post Offices and small shops – resulting in a net loss of jobs to the economy.
“We fully support this legal action to hold Government to account for their actions.”
The government counters that the power will ultimately lie with local councils who will make the decisions for individual areas, and that shop workers rights will be protected – although they do not state how
“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.”
Are the current Sunday trading laws sufficient or would you like to see more stores opening for longer? And how will this affect family life in the UK? We’ll be watching with interest to see how this story develops.