British businesses are readying for a fight over government plans to shake up Sunday trading rules.
The government will today open a formal consultation on proposals to give local areas the power to allow large shops to open for longer on Sundays. Current laws allow smaller shops to stay open all day, but limit larger stores occupying more than 280 square metres to just six hours of operating time.
The government says that extending Sunday trading by two hours in London alone would generate more than £200m a year in extra income for businesses.
When George Osborne first floated the idea last month, Asda and Morrisons welcomed the move, but Tesco and Sainsbury’s were less supportive. A representative for Sainsbury’s said it considered the current rules “a sensible British compromise”for firms of all sizes.
But the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said it was “concerned about the impact of any change” on smaller retailers.