Summer Budget: Osborne to extend Sunday trading hours

Move could face opposition from Church and small business owners

In his summer Budget tomorrow, Chancellor George Osborne is expected to introduce measures that will enable the extension of Sunday trading hours.

Currently, shops with trading space of over 3,000 sq ft may only open for six hours on Sundays. Whereas smaller ones can remain open.

The move will delight larger retailers, but could spell problems for smaller convenience stores which can pick up a significant amount of business when competitor supermarkets are closed.

However, Osborne is not lifting the Sunday trading laws entirely. Instead, local authorities will be given new powers to implement trading rules.

According to the FT, Osborne said:  “It is clear that there is still a growing appetite for shopping on a Sunday.”

He added: “But this won’t be right for every area so I want to devolve the power to make this decision.”

Trading on Sunday was illegal until 1994.

Apart from smaller retailers who may suffer as a result of the changes, religious organisations may also oppose an extension. In 2006, the Church of England rejected similar proposals, with the Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Revd Tom Butler, then saying the Church would “resist any further attempts to erode what still exists in legislation to safeguard the special nature of Sunday”.

“The costs to work-life balance, family life and stability, health of employees and the contribution of small retailers to community cohesion outweigh any potential benefits of further deregulation.”

During the Olympic Games in 2012, when Sunday trading laws were temporarily relaxed, the Church again expressed opposition to any move to make the change permanent.

Now read

Social Bookmarks