The government has launched a consultation today (5th August) on plans to give local areas the power to allow large shops to open for longer on Sundays to help compete with online retailers.
The government’s department for Business, Innovation and Skills said the reforms would give metro mayors and local authorities the power to determine Sunday trading rules that “reflect the needs of local people and allow shops and high streets to stay open longer and compete with online retailers.”
The existing Sunday trading laws were introduced more than 20 years ago before high-street shops faced competition from online retailers such as Amazon. The law currently prevents large stores from opening for more than six hours on a Sunday. Small shops covering less than 3,000 sq ft however can open all day.
Paris has recently extended Sunday trading opening hours in areas of international tourism, and Dubai and New York shops open into the evening seven days a week, a BIS spokesperson said.
Under the proposals, local authorities would have the discretion to zone which part of their local authority area would benefit from the longer hours, allowing them to boost town centres and high streets.
Communities Minister Brandon Lewis (pictured) said: “This government is determined to devolve powers previously held in Whitehall to local people. That’s why we want to give local leaders the power to decide whether Sunday trading is right for their area, and to give their retailers the option to stay open for longer.
“We have already taken a range of measures to boost the Great British high street and now we are giving local areas another tool to encourage shoppers to the town centre and get shops to grow and thrive.
“The government has a wide package of policies to support high streets - from cuts in business rates for small shops to stopping over-zealous parking practices.”
The government is calling for businesses, shoppers and other interested groups to respond to the consultation on the proposed changes which they can do through this link: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/devolving-sunday-trading-rules