To Extend or not to Extend?Digital Editor
Since the Olympics finished many broadsheet column inches have been filled by the debate whether we should permanently extend Sunday trading hours. In this year’s Spring Budget, the Coalition introduced a temporary policy to extend the Sunday trading hours for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, ensuring that retailers were able to capitalise on the extra visitors and increase consumer spending during the Games. But the Government is now considering including a policy to permanently extend the hours in their ‘Economic Regeneration Bill’. The dropping of the House of Lords reform has made new time available in the Commons to debate this new Bill when Parliament returns from summer recess in September.
Critics of the policy, which include MPs (from both sides of the house), business and religious leaders, argue that changing the legislation will have a negative impact on small retailers, who currently have no restrictions on their trading hours, affect traditional and religious family values/practices and will force higher overheads on struggling large retailers. Supporters of the extended trading hours, which includes MPs (from both sides of the house), retailers and most customers, believe the deregulation will boost the economy, provide more jobs and give consumers more choice and flexibility.
While ultimately any decision and rational belief must be made after the trading figures for the period of the Olympic and Paralympic Games are released and analysed, I am theoretically in support of the policy. Although it will upset traditionalists, we must do all we can to support our retailers, our economy and employment. We haven’t got the luxury to neglect economic growth for the sake of traditional values in our current economic climate. If shoppers cannot go to the high street to buy what they require, they will go online instead. Lets support the bricks and mortar of our economy.
Andrew Todd, Senior Account Executive