Labour MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland recently attended a lobby of Parliament organised by the Keep Sunday Special coalition to oppose the Government’s proposal to devolve Sunday trading regulations.
Members of shop workers union Usdaw and convenience store owners met with MPs to explain how extended opening in large stores will reduce trade for small stores and lead to even more retail staff in large stores being pressured to work longer hours on Sundays.
Voting on changing Sunday trading rules is expected to take place on Wednesday 9th March.
“The Sunday Trading Act is a great British compromise, which gives everyone a little bit of what they want. Retailers can trade, customers can shop, staff can work; whilst Sunday remains a special day, different to other days, and shop workers can spend some time with their family.
“I am convinced that shops are currently open long enough for people to do their shopping and that Sunday should remain a special day, different to any other.
“We know that shopping habits are changing, not least with internet shopping, but the Tories are seeking to make sweeping changes to Sunday trading laws through legislative sleight of hand when there is little appetite for such a change and which was not in the Tory manifesto at the general election.
“Extending Sunday trading does not mean customers have more money to spend, it would not create jobs and could lead to the closure of smaller stores. So this is not a way to boost the local economy or help town centres. It would be detrimental to shop workers and their families, as well as wider society, so I am pleased to be supporting the Keep Sunday Special campaign.”
John Hannett – Usdaw General Secretary said:
“Usdaw and our members are delighted to have the support of Tom Blenkinsop MP and many others who value the special nature of Sunday and want to protect it. There is no great desire from shop workers, customers or retailers for these changes and many oppose them.
“The Government are pushing through these changes in the final stages of a Bill which will be voted on next week, but without having published any up to date economic evidence to support their case, any impact assessment or a family test to weigh up the effect on the families of shop workers, who already work long hours at weekends.
“We are therefore calling on all MPs to oppose this ill-thought-out measure and for the Government to concentrate on supporting retail businesses and their staff.”