A proposed bill to extend Sunday trading hours is under threat after the Scottish National Party (SNP) said it will vote against the plans.
Under the government plans, Sunday trading hours for high street shops would be devolved to local authorities. Local councils would be given the power to extend hours within their geographical area, or specific parts of their geography where they want to grow their economy or attract more footfall.
It would also give local authorities the power to exclude out-of-town supermarkets from extended Sunday hours – an attempt to drive consumers back to the high street.
MPs are set to vote on the bill today, which unions and the Labour Party say could extend Sunday opening by up to six hours.
The bill is now under threat as the SNP, which previously pledged not to vote on issues affecting just England and Wales, is planning on opposing the measures.
The party said the plans could hit shopworkers’ pay in Scotland. It is believed a number of Conservative backbenchers are also opposed to the bill.
The plans – originally part of the Chancellor’s Budget in July last year – mark a change from the current law which allows smaller shops to open all day on Sunday but restricts those over 3,000 sq ft to six hours, between 10am and 6pm.