Business minister Anna Soubry has admitted to parliament that the Government has failed to commission any research over the past 10 years to look into the impact of Sunday trading deregulation.
In an answer to a parliamentary question tabled by Kevin Brennan MP, she said: “In 2006 Indepen were commissioned by the DTI to evaluate the economic costs and benefits of extending Sunday trading hours, a copy of the report can be found on the gov.uk website. My department has not commissioned any research since then into the effects of the extension of Sunday opening hours.”
The 2006 report that the minister referred to was commissioned as part of a wider review into Sunday trading hours during 2006. The Department for Trade and Industry at the time decided not to remove the Sunday trading regulations.
Alistair Darling, then Trade and Industry Secretary said in 2006: “With the Sunday trading laws having been in place for many years, it was important that we looked at whether they were still appropriate. As part of our review we commissioned an independent cost-benefit analysis and sought a wide range of views on the subject in an informal consultation.
“Having considered all the evidence from the review, we have concluded that there should be no change to the Sunday trading laws.”
ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “For the Government to attempt to justify its decision to change Sunday trading laws with research that led to a previous Government retaining the rules is just absurd. There is a wealth of new evidence that shows that consumers don’t want change, and that the proposals would damage small shops and harm high streets when local authorities favour out of town locations over centres.
“These proposals are nothing more than an ideological pet project from the Chancellor and should be voted down in the Enterprise Bill next week.”