Since they were first announced last July, I have written many times in Retail Express about the Government’s plans to remove the popular Sunday trading rules that have been in place for the past 20 years.
We have demonstrated beyond question that there is no economic case for change, that consumers don’t want the rules to be removed and that small shops and shopworkers would suffer as a result. And yet the Government is still pushing ahead and forcing these proposals through.
Last week, many of you joined us in a mass lobby of Parliament, which was attended by hundreds of concerned retailers and shop workers and dozens of MPs.
The message that we heard from MPs in attendance, including Shadow Business Secretary Angela Eagle MP was clear – nobody has had a letter or a call from a constituent asking for longer Sunday trading hours. There just simply isn’t a need for it.
At the time of writing, we also haven’t seen the impact assessments that were promised months ago. We haven’t been told what the Government’s assessment is of the number of jobs that will be lost, or the impact on family life.
Independent research has shown that thousands of jobs will go as a result, with thousands more cutting staff hours and delaying investment as a result of lower sales on Sundays, but officials in Government have ignored this evidence as well. The proposals will be debated and voted on in Parliament next week.
At this crucial stage of the campaign, every single vote from every MP from across all parties will make a difference.
There is still time to talk to your MP and tell them about the damage that these proposals will do to your business, because they could join the growing group of MPs that have considered the evidence and will say no to the removal of Sunday trading laws.
The Government has clearly grown complacent; it cannot be allowed to get away with forcing these badly thought out proposals through Parliament.