Usdaw calls on MPs to reject an incoherent attempt to deregulate Sunday trading laws

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Date: 23 June 2014

Shopworkers trade union leader John Hannett has called on MPs to reject a series of amendments to the Government’s Deregulation Bill, tabled by Conservative MP Philip Davies, that would either abolish or amend the Sunday Trading Act.

Mr Davies’ five amendments introduced at the report stage of the Bill, which are timetabled for debate today (Monday 23 June 2014), would have the effect of:

1.            Fully repealing the Sunday Trading Act.

2.            Extending the trading window from 6 to 8 consecutive hours between 10am and 8pm.

3.            Suspending the Sunday Trading Act during the Glasgow Commonwealth Games 2014.

4.            Suspending the Sunday Trading Act during the Rugby World Cup 2015.

5.            Exempting garden centres from the Sunday Trading Act.

John Hannett – Usdaw General Secretary said: ‘I am disappointed to see these amendments being considered for the first time at the very end of the Commons scrutiny of the Deregulation Bill, a Government Bill that is not about Sunday trading.

‘Taken together these amendments are incoherent and threaten to take us back to the confusion of the late 1980s and early 1990s, which dogged the retail industry. On the one hand Mr Davies wants the complete deregulation of Sunday trading, but then goes on to propose a series of changes that would keep Sunday trading regulated. He is trying to face both ways at the same time.’

During the passage of the Olympic Sunday Trading Bill Rt Hon Vince Cable MP, Business Secretary, stated from the dispatch box: ‘Any move towards the abolition of the UK’s Sunday trading laws would require new legislation, a full consultation and extensive parliamentary scrutiny.’

John Hannett continued:

‘The Government was very clear in their commitment to a full consultation and extensive parliamentary scrutiny and that promise was crucial to MPs agreeing the Olympic Sunday trading suspension.

‘In no way do these amendments meet that pledge. They have been tabled at the latest possible time in the Bill’s passage, therefore avoiding scrutiny at second reading and committee stage, and there has been no consultation whatsoever. So I am calling on Government to stand by their promise by opposing these amendments and for MPs to vote them down this evening.

Notes for editors:

Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fourth biggest and the fastest growing trade union with over 428,000 members. Membership has increased by more than 17% in the last five years and by nearly a third in the last decade. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the Union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.

Deregulation Bill amendments:

•             NC10 Repealing of the Sunday Trading Act 1994

•             NC11 Extending of Sunday trading hours

•             NC12 Suspension of restriction of Sunday trading hours for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games 2014

•             NC13 Suspension of restriction on Sunday trading hours for the Rugby World Cup 2015

•             NC14 Further exemption to Sunday trading hours: garden centres

Vince Cable’s speech introducing the Olympic Sunday Trading Bill:

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