Sunday trading laws could be suspended for a year

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Members of the public practice social distancing as they queue to get into a Morrisons supermarket on May 06, 2020 in Bradford, England. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)

The government plans to suspend Sunday trading laws for a year in measures to revive the economy from the coronavirus crisis, the Times reported.

The government has earlier revealed that it was considering a review of the laws after several MPs called on Business Secretary Alok Sharma to suspend the law, which restricts large shops (over 280 square metres) from opening for sale to a maximum of 6 hours between 10am and 6pm.

The package of measures being prepared by the government also includes a proposal to give fast-track approval for cafés and pubs to serve food and drink outside by scrapping the current 28-day statutory consultation period, the report added.

James Lowman, chief executive of the Association of Convenience Stores, said the change in Sunday trading hours would negatively impact the local stores.

“Changing the current laws would serve only to displace trade from the local shops that have been keeping communities going during this pandemic,” he said, adding that the existing regulations “strike the right balance between the needs of shop workers, consumers, high streets, small shops and supermarkets.”

“To upset the balance that has been struck on opening hours on Sundays would put small shops at risk, with increased costs but no guaranteed benefits for their larger counterparts,” he cautioned.