Sunday trading laws will be ripped up by George Osborne in tomorrow’s Summer Budget – a move that independent retailers argue only benefits multiples.
The existing trading laws, which require large stores to limit opening hours to six hours on a Sunday, will be relaxed by giving elected mayors and local authorities the power to remove the regulations.
George Osborne claims the move will boost local economies and aid the devolution of powers.
“This won't be right for every area, so I want to devolve the power to make this decision to mayors and local authorities," he is expected to say.
But independent retailers shared their shock and outrage, with many claiming that it will only benefit national companies and blaming the Government for being out of touch with small businesses.
Chaz Chal, Costcutter Bromsgrove said: “Parliament don’t have a grasp on the real world, most of them don’t have a small business background. They might call it a democracy, but they will always do what they want to do.”
One retailer from Osborne’s “northern powerhouse”, Manchester, refuses to extend her hours because she believes it will put her staff at risk.
“We’re by the Trafford Centre and I don’t want my staff subjected to anymore problems,” said Brenda Walker of Walkers Spar. “There’s crime and abuse, I worry about it all of the time.”
Labour leader candidates have voiced their concern with the changes in the Sunday Trading Act and have sided with retailer’s concerns.
Natalie Bennett, Green Party leader, also voiced her concerns for small businesses:
The ACS has condemned the decision and argue that Osborne is supporting the multiples and taking away retailers work-life balance.
“In areas where large stores’ trading hours are extended, we will simply see the same amount of trade spread over more hours and shifting from small stores to large stores,” said James Lowman, ACS chief executive.
“Existing Sunday trading laws are a popular compromise that balance the needs of consumers, shop workers, small stores and families”.