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Prime Minister says plans to lift Sunday restrictions are “under review”

Sadiyah Ismailjee
23 June 2020

Prime Minister, Boris Johnson has announced that the plans to extend Sunday opening hours for retailers is “under review” as almost 50 Conservative MPs prepare to rebel over the proposal.

Boris Johnson is still considering whether stores should be allowed longer trading hours on Sundays by relaxing current restrictions for stores open on the last day of the week.

The new plan is under review with the aim to boost the economy and help struggling retailers who have been affected by the Covid-19 outbreak in the UK.

It’s thought measures to relax Sunday trading laws for one year would be part of a coronavirus recovery bill to be introduced by the government this week.

 Seven Conservative MPs have warned the Prime Minister against the move:

“We stand squarely behind your ambition to stimulate economic growth and revitalise British high streets, but removing Sunday trading hours will not achieve this,” said the statement, signed by Fiona Bruce, David Amess, William Wragg, Martin Vickers, David Jones, Andrew Selous and Bob Blackman."

“It will harm local shops and high streets by displacing trade to large out of town retail parks and supermarkets…Sunday represents an important common day of rest, where families and communities can spend time together.”

“Sunday is an especially important day for the millions of retail key workers that have been on the frontline during the nation’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak, feeding the nation and delivering for their local communities,” the letter detailed.

According to the group, more than 50 Conservative MPs in total are “opposed to these plans and have expressed this directly to us or to their constituents”.

“We have said we will keep measures such as extending Sunday trading hours under review as they can support shops with social distancing and allow shoppers to buy food and other items more conveniently,” said an official spokesperson for the Prime Minister.

Sunday trading laws were introduced under the Sunday Trading Act 1994, which reduced opening hours with retail space over 280 square metres to a maximum of six hours of trading.

In the past, ex British prime minister David Cameron has also attempted to relax the Sunday regulations and was defeated by 27 Tory rebels voting against the government.

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