Government delays Sunday trading plans after SNP threats

Lauren Fedor
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The SNP's Westminster leader Angus Robertson says Sunday trading in England would hurt Scottish workers (Source: Getty)

The government has reportedly postponed plans to relax Sunday trading laws in England and Wales after the SNP threatened to block legislation including the proposals.

Chancellor George Osborne first proposed in his summer budget changing the rules to allow high street shops in England and Wales to stay open longer on Sundays, but the SNP’s Westminster leader Angus Robertson told the BBC yesterday that the new laws would “undermine” Scottish workers, saying: “This legislation will impact on workers in Scotland and elsewhere in the UK and no pay safeguards have been offered by the Westminster government.”

While no draft legislation has been tabled to enact the Sunday trading changes, it has been understood that they would be introduced as an amendment to the Cities and Local Government Devolution bill.

But the BBC first reported this evening that the government has now put those plans on hold to allow more time for talks with opposition parties.

Downing Street said there had been "absolutely" no U-turn on the policy.

Business groups have widely supported the government's proposals.

Lady Barbara Judge, chairman of the Institute of Directors, said earlier today that existing restrictions to Sunday trading are "archaic when consumers can shop on their phones wherever they are, at any hour of the day".

"Regulation in all areas must move with the times, and this is an opportunity to remove an outdated regulation," Judge said, adding, “The opposition of the SNP to Sunday trading in England and Wales is particularly hard to understand, given that it has never been banned in Scotland.”

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