Local shops have called on Lords to reject moves to suspend Sunday Trading restrictions as figures released by the government fail to make a convincing case for the economic benefits.

The government’s impact assessment published less than 24 hours before Peers are asked to vote on the measure cites a study published by the Centre for Retail Research which estimates the benefits to the retail sector of Sunday trading liberalisation to be £189.9m. 

Small shops groups have estimated the costs of the move for the eight week Olympic and Paralympics period at £480m as small stores lose trade to large out of town stores throughout England and Wales.

Association of Convenience Stores chief executive James Lowman said: “The case for liberalising Sunday trading laws for the Olympics is crumbling. Their own impact assessment fails to quantify in any way the likely harm that extending trading hours for large stores could have on smaller stores in neighbourhoods and high streets.  

“It is deeply unsatisfactory that publication of the government’s internal advice is only made available less than 24 hours before Peers are afforded their only chance to vote on the measure.

“Ministers are rushing through a Bill that has significant implications for businesses across England and Wales based on poor and incomplete evidence. We urge Peers to oppose this unnecessary and damaging measure.”

Lords will be debating the Sunday Trading (Olympics and Paralympics) Bill starting at Committee Stage today (April 26). Lowman has written to Mark Prisk MP BIS Minister setting out ACS’ concerns about the government’s Impact Assessment for the Sunday Trading Bill.

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