Government attempts to justify relaxing Sunday trading regulations have been ridiculed by the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), and it has called on MPs to reject the proposed change.
The Department for Business (BIS) published its response to the consultation on liberalising Sunday Trading, but the ACS said it had only used evidence that backed its case and ignored the rest. BIS also put out a press release citing a 5% rise in turnover as a result of liberalisation in Sweden. However, according to the ACS, the figures used are from 1972 to 1989.
ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “The Government is attempting to hoodwink the rest of Parliament into accepting these proposals by publishing only the parts of the consultation response that suit its agenda. The voice of thousands of businesses, communities, shop workers and other organisations has been ignored.
“For the Government to use figures from the 1970s to justify its decision on Sunday Trading is frankly embarrassing. Parliament must reject this amendment being snuck into the late stages of the Enterprise Bill.
“The Government’s message on Sunday trading has become so confused that it is barely recognisable. They claim that Sunday trading rules need to change to meet the needs of modern consumers, and yet quote decades old figures.
“They claim that Sunday trading changes will help high streets compete with online retail, but not one consumer or company polled this year has claimed that Sunday trading hours are a factor in the popularity of online shopping.
“They claim that this is what people want, despite several surveys showing that the majority of the public like the rules just the way they are. These ill thought out, badly executed and potentially devastating plans must be dropped.”