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MPs Reject Proposals to Give Councils Control Over Sunday Trading Hours

NOTE: This content is old - Published: Wednesday, Mar 9th, 2016.

Councils across Wales will not be allowed to set trading laws on a Sunday after proposals were tonight defeated in the House of Commons.

MPs voted by 317 to 286 against proposals to allow councils in England and Wales to increase Sunday trading hours for large shops from their six-hour maximum.

Changes to Sunday Trading Laws and the impact they may have on shops in Wrexham have previously been debated by members of the Town Centre Forum, with Eagles Manager Kevin Critchley previously stating that it ‘could end up with local authority competing against local authority’.

Last year the idea of having extended opening hours on a Thursday evening in Wrexham Town Centre, or more shops taking advantage of Sunday trading was discussed – however aside from Christmas shopping and Eagles Meadow, the idea has yet to come to fruition in the town.

At present under the 1994 Sunday Trading Act stores over 3,000sq ft are limited to opening for six hours on Sundays. Smaller stores, such as convenience stores can open for longer.

However in last summer’s budget the Chancellor announced plans to hand new powers to local councils and authorities in England and Wales, which would allow the relaxation of Sunday opening hours.

Clwyd South MP Susan Elan Jones, who last autumn urged the Prime Minister to think again about changing Sunday trading hours has said she is “delighted” with today’s Government defeat on the issue.

Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions on October 21st, Susan Elan Jones MP quoted Government retail sector champion Kevin Hawkins who described the current laws as “a workable compromise that most people seem satisfied with most of the time”.

Ms Jones said: “There’s a balance to be kept here – between opening hours for big stores, the rights of small shops and the rights of shop-workers and their families to enjoy family life. The current laws are a good compromise that most people agree with. We should stick with them and keep Sunday special.”

The Clwyd South Labour MP also spoke in today’s debate in Parliament, saying there was an “unity” that brought together a huge range of MPs based on “support for family life, high streets and small shops; and against the exploitation of shop-workers.”

Wrexham MP Ian Lucas has also tweeted his views on the proposed changes to Sunday Trading.

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