The High Street could be set for a financial boost
The High Street could be set for a financial boost after it emerged that the Scottish MPs have given an indication that they may support George Osborne’s application to relax the Sunday trading laws that are in place for UK retailers.
Over 200 MPs and council leaders expressed the view that they feel the current UK laws are outdated and in need of becoming more relaxed. The current laws have not been updated since 1994.
The announcement was received well by the New West End Company who stand for retail shops in the West End and Knightsbridge. It was reported the change could bring forward a welcomed £280 million in sales and create approximately 2000 staff vacancies.
Current laws permit smaller stores to open all day on a Sunday but control stores that have a floor space of over 3,000 sq ft and limit these stores to trading for no more than 6 consecutive hours.
At present there are no trading restrictions in place in Scotland, however Ireland have laws that allow shops to trade between 13.00 and 18.00.
Retailers can face fines of over £50,000 if they have been found to be breaking these laws.
A letter that was reported in the Sunday Telegraph spoke of the opportunity that the new relaxed trading laws would bring to the High Street to enable them to compete with online retailers and it also confirmed that the move would increase employment hours for many individuals.
The proposed changes have been met with a difference of opinion, with reports from the EU saying that by relaxing their laws they noticed a net increase of employment of 7 – 9%. However, the change has not been welcomed by everyone, with some smaller retailers being opposed to change as they feel the current trading laws give them a rare trading advantage over the larger retailers.
It has been reported that ‘The Shop Workers Union’ were opposed to the proposal for extended Sunday trading hours.