Campaigners have warned of a Sunday trading “domino effect” that could lead to authorities having no choice but to adopt longer opening hours for larger stores.

A lobbying group, Keep Sunday Special, has told Retail Express that chancellor George Osborne’s proposals to relax Sunday trading laws are “half-baked” and urged David Cameron not to avoid the issue.

The group’s research director, John Ashcroft encouraged retailers to contact their MPs in response to the proposals. “Our concern is a domino effect. If one local authority chooses longer hours the customers from the neighbouring authority may shop there – leaving the neighbouring authority no choice but to extend shopping times.”

Ashcroft is working with the ACS, NFRN, Federation of Wholesale Distributors and Rural Shops Alliance on the issue and has directly contacted David Cameron.
“It’s public knowledge that we’ve written to him, so not answering would be avoiding the issue,” Ashcroft said.

High-profile retailers Paul Cheema and Sunder Sandher pledged their support to the campaign and have already contacted their MPs – with mixed responses.

Paul Cheema, who runs Malcolm’s Store in Coventry, was brushed aside by Coventry MP Geoffrey Robinson and onto his aide, but he hasn’t given up yet.

Cheema said: “I’m still waiting for a direct response from Robinson but we need to challenge the Government to come out of their offices and see what we’ll have to put up with.”

Sunder Sandher of S&S One Stop in Leamington Spa has had more luck with Warwick & Leamington MP Chris White and is arranging an appointment to discuss
his concerns.

“I have a good relationship with Chris,” he said. “He already knows that the relaxing of opening hours during the Olympics didn’t affect my shop, or the nearby Tesco, so it’s pointless.”