22nd February 2016


 Issue No.  2016/05




Potential for longer shop opening hours – but will depend on your location!

Currently, in England and Wales large shops– those that are more than 280 square metres (3,000 square feet) – are permitted to trade on Sundays for a period of six consecutive hours, between 10am and 6pm. Small shops can open all day. There are no trading restrictions in Scotland.

In the 2015 budget, George Osborne proposed a shakeup of Sunday trading laws. 

The plan
To devolve the power to extend Sunday trading hours:

  • in England to all unitary and shire district councils
  • in Wales to all county and county borough councils
  • to the mayors of London and Greater Manchester
  • to the mayors established through any future devolution deals, once elected

These plans have recently been revived and will allow councils / Mayors to extend Sunday opening hours in their areas (or part of their areas) if they believe it is the best approach for their area.

This gives a wide scope of options and by way of example, it has been reported that Great Yarmouth Borough Council are talking about attracting people into the town centre and sea front by allowing shops there to stay open much later, while popular out of town business parks may not necessarily be afforded the same privilege.

Shop Workers
Under the proposals, shop workers in England, Scotland and Wales will also be given “greater freedoms” in relation to Sunday working. They will be able to opt out of Sunday working by serving just one month’s notice, instead of serving the current three months’ notice to their employer.  It is also proposed that shop workers will also be given a new right to opt out of working additional hours on a Sunday.

Current Position
The Government has put out its response to the consultation (which can be found here): https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/498773/bis-16-2-sunday-trading-government-response.pdf

What next?
We will keep you updated as the relevant amendment to the Enterprise Bill goes through the legislative process.  If implemented, it will then be down to the Mayors / Councils to decide whether to extend Sunday trading hours within their area or within specific parts of their area, such as town centres or high streets.

One cannot help feeling it is going to be a bit strange that some national retailers might have stores in neighbouring districts with different opening times due to different council / Mayoral decisions!





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