MORE PEOPLE would have the chance to go to church if “out-of-date and absurd” Sunday trading laws are scrapped, MPs heard last night.
Shipley Conservative Philip Davies insisted the laws should be fully relaxed to mirror longer opening hours in Scotland, as he said the current regulations no longer protect “Mr Miggins’ pie shop or Mrs Miggins’ greengrocer shop” but Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons.
The former Asda worker also accused Labour of fuelling the “cost of living crisis” by forcing people to shop at the more expensive Tesco Express, Sainsbury’s Local and Morrisons’ M Local shops when the supermarket chains’ bigger – and cheaper – stores have shut on Sundays.
Both Labour and the Government noted they would object to additions to the Deregulation Bill proposed by Mr Davies and fellow Tory David Nuttall, MP for Bury North.
The backbench MPs had called for either the repeal of the Sunday Trading Act 1994, an extension of trading hours on Sundays or a temporary suspension of the restrictions during the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games or the Rugby World Cup 2015 – a move adopted during the London 2012 Olympics. Mr Davies said he would prefer the regulations to be fully liberalised
Solicitor General Oliver Heald said the Government had no plans to change the current law relating to Sunday trading, despite the success of the extended hours during London 2012 Olympics.
He told the Commons: “The interests of smaller retailers, the working hours of employees, the effect of extra lorry traffic and the need to have some family day consideration leads to the view that the current balance does not need changing.” Mr Davies said he would not put his amendments to a vote.