Extension of Sunday shopping hours wins support from 45pc of consumers

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Just under half of shoppers support permanent longer Sunday shopping hours, according to a survey.

The poll found 45 per cent of consumers supported extended Sunday trading, with 24 per cent believing it would provide a boost to the UK economy, business law firm DWF said.

Of those who backed the longer opening hours, 83 per cent said shops should be allowed to open on Sundays without any restrictions at all.

Current legislation allows shops in England and Wales of more than 280 square metres to open for a maximum of six hours on a Sunday between 10am and 6pm. There are no restrictions on Sunday trading in Scotland.

But the restrictions have been suspended until the end of the 
Olympics and Paralympics on Sunday.

The poll found that although 82 per cent of shoppers were aware of the relaxation of the rules, just 24 per cent had taken advantage of them so far.

It found that 39 per cent of people believed the Government would eventually relax Sunday trading rules permanently, with 22 per cent saying they would shop more on a Sunday if the change became permanent, while 16 per cent said shops should not be allowed to open at all on Sundays.

DWF head of retail Hilary Ross said: “Given the need to stimulate the economy, the commitment to cutting red tape and strong employee protection laws coupled with the Scottish experience, it is difficult to see the justification for continuing to regulate Sunday trading in the current way.”

She added: “Our research provides a call to action for the Government. Many consumers clearly think the laws on Sunday trading in England and Wales are in need of modernisation.”