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Sunday Trading – a statement.

February 10th 2016

Commenting upon Government plans to extend the hours of Sunday Trading for large stores North Thanet`s MP, Sir Roger Gale, has said:

“I have been, and remain, opposed to Sunday trading and I have consistently voted against it.

The Government`s plans to extend the trading hours for large stores (small seaside shops and “convenience” stores can, of course, already open on Sundays ) are largely unwanted and unloved. The Federation of Small Shopkeepers is opposed to the proposals as are most large supermarket chains and out-of-town shops. The latter do not wish to have to staff stores for longer Sunday opening hours and to do so would play havoc with delivery and re-stocking schedules.

The idea that the buck can be passed to Local Authorities as “devolution” is a nonsense: it is inevitable that once one LA breaks ranks – and one will – others will follow suit. The Government now appears to be trying to sneak this through as a committee-stage amendment to the Enterprise Bill rather than having the matter debated on the floor of the House where it would suffer defeat. That will not work either as any such amendment will be open to reversal at the report stage of the bill and those of us who oppose this are almost certainly sufficient in number to carry the day.

There is no manifesto commitment to this measure which seems designed, chiefly, to satisfy the demands of Oxford Street and Regent Street in London that want to serve tourists for longer hours. I believe that there is also no economic justification for the extension and that talk of “hundreds of new jobs” is pie-in-the-sky. People have a finite amount of money to spend without racking up more undesirable personal debt and there are more than enough shopping hours already in which to spend it. We need to try to preserve what is left of Sunday as a Day of Rest and we shall continue to do s0."

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