I believe that relaxing Sunday Trading laws is unnecessary and will not provide the boost that our economy needs.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in the UK, we have seen how important our retailers and shopworkers are, both in keeping our economy moving and ensuring people can get vital food and supplies. It is therefore worrying that the Government is considering unwelcome changes to Sunday Trading laws.
Supporting the economy whilst we emerge from the coronavirus crisis is vital, but deregulation of Sunday trading hours is not needed and is a potentially damaging move. Loosening regulations on Sunday trading would put great pressure on retail workers who have done so much to support the country through this emergency. Many retailers are still struggling with staffing levels through enforced absences as a result of the necessary measures taken to combat the spread of COVID-19 – extending opening hours would put even more strain on workers.
In addition, small shops and our high streets would be hit hardest by these plans, putting their future viability in peril. The current long-standing arrangements have worked well for years, and it is clear that moves to relax them are aimed at helping large shops further dominate the market.
The Government should drop its reported plans to deregulate trading hours and focus on supporting our high streets where businesses face uncertainty far into the future. It should also use this opportunity to support retail workers further in return for the crucial efforts they have made in recent months, not enforce misguided changes that will simply put them under even greater pressure.
We must support our economy and tackle the effects this crisis has had on it. I will continue to support efforts to do so. However, I do not believe that allowing large shops to open for longer on Sundays is the right way to go about this.
I can assure you that my Opposition colleagues and I will continue to oppose the relaxation of Sunday trading laws.