Updated following Parliamentary debate on 9 March 2016

As you may be aware, following the recent debate that took place in Parliament, MPs have decided not to go ahead with plans to relax Sunday trading laws.
The Government respects this decision and I can confirm that the plans will not be revived through the Enterprise Bill.

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Last year the Government launched a public consultation on Sunday trading. The majority of responses from Local Authorities, large and medium sized businesses, and a number of representative organisations, were in favour of the proposal to devolve decision making on extending Sunday trading rules to a local level.

Subsequently, on 2 February the Government announced its intention to devolve Sunday trading laws to Councils and the Mayors of London and Greater Manchester, when elected, alongside Mayors established through future devolution deals. These proposals are now being taken forward through amendments to the Enterprise Bill. The amendments do three things:  

  • Firstly, they give local authorities the power to decide Sunday trading hours in their area
  • Secondly, they give local authorities the power to 'zone' the relaxation of Sunday trading hours to help high streets and city centres over out-of-town retail parks
  • Finally, they give shop workers greater powers to opt out of working longer on a Sunday or working on a Sunday at all.

I believe it is right that local leaders, who know their area best, can take decisions on whether they want to extend Sunday trading in their own local area.

I would like to reassure you though that extending Sunday trading will not be done at the expense of shop workers. Those who do not want to work on Sundays won't have to. In fact, the Government is strengthening the powers available for people to say no, by shortening the opt out notice period and giving those that already work on Sundays a new right to prevent extra hours they do not want or need.

I expect workers to be kept informed of their rights at every step, and welcome the Government's commitment to be tough on those that do not comply.