Labour has today confirmed that restrictions on Sunday trading for larger shops (for England and Wales) are to remain in force. The announcement was welcomed by unions. John Hannett of USDAW, representing shopworkers, told the BBC:
"All our members want is the right to a sensible proper work-life balance, and thanks to this wise decision, they will be able to enjoy quality time with their loved ones on Sundays."
Big retailers IKEA, Asda and Next had all campaigned for further deregulation but the Conservative Party – as part of David Cameron’s campaign to stand up to big business and to campaign for a healthier work-life balance – has welcomed the Government’s decision.
"This is good news for small shops and for the consumers they serve. Its clear from the Government’s own findings that there was no substantial demand for changes to the present regime, and given this, it would have been perverse to ignore consumers’ wishes. However, there are other deep-seated issues facing independent retailers and the high street, which the Government is failing to address. It’s time Ministers accepted their responsibility to help retailing adapt and prosper in tough trading conditions. The Conservatives are working closely with retailers and their representatives to address issues like parking, planning, high street crime and fair competition. Its time Government played its part."
Strongly supportive of deregulated Sunday trading hours is the Adam Smith Institute. Earlier today the ASI’s Eamonn Butler argued that Sunday trading had brought a big increase in employment, individual freedom and had "benefited families" by "providing a more relaxed opportunity for them to go out and make joint decisions on important purchases".