Sunday trading hours: MPs and council leaders urge rules on Sunday opening hours to be relaxed

James Nickerson
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Consumers In The Christmas Eve Retail Rush
A recent poll found that the public generally support changes to Sunday trading hours (Source: Getty)

Sunday trading laws are outdated and should be relaxed in order to help shops, a group of 200 MPs and council leaders has said.

In a letter to the Telegraph, the group wrote that relaxing the rules would increase spending on Sundays, allowing shops to compete with online companies as well as boost job prospects.

The group wrote that while the world has changed since 1994, when Sunday trading laws were last modified, the laws have not kept up.

Read more: Liberalising retail laws is a win-win for staff, shoppers and business

"Yet whilst times and attitudes have changed, Sunday Trading laws have stayed the same," they wrote.

"Our high streets and physical retailers have been left trying to compete with 24/7 online shopping, a task which is made harder by a shortened trading day at the weekend, just when many families might hope to go shopping together."

Current rules state that shops over 280 square metres can open on Sundays but only for six consecutive hours between 10am and 6pm.

Read more: Local councils handed power to extend Sunday trading hours

The group said in the letter that they supported the government's plans to devolve Sunday trading laws to local councils.

"Ultimately, we believe that the best way to determine whether large shops are open for longer than six hours on a Sunday is to hand this decision to local communities," the letter said.

The letter comes after a YouGov poll earlier this month found the public generally supported the changes, but were wary of the impact on employees and family life.

In the poll, however, 54 per cent of workers said they would lose out.

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