Bira opposed to proposed relaxation of Sunday trading laws

The British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) has expressed concern for proposed relaxation of Sunday trading laws.

Under plans being suggested by the government, England could suspend Sunday trading laws for a year in a bid to boost the economy.

However, Bira, who has added its support to the ‘Keep Sunday Special campaign’, is opposed to the proposals, saying it would not benefit small independent retailers.

Sunday trading laws were introduced in 1994, which limits shops with retail space over 280 square metres to a maximum of six hours trading. 

However, new legislation would allow bigger stores to open for longer on Sundays.

Andrew Goodacre, Bira’s CEO, said: “We are concerned about these proposals; we believe it would be to the further detriment of the high street. It would reduce footfall on a key trading day, Sundays give independent retailers the chance to compete with the large chains.

“All stores opening normal hours on Sundays is not good for the high street in general and for the smaller retailers. We already know retail parks are prospering by comparison and I do not see any good argument for making these changes.” 

Bira has joined the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) and a host of other organisations, and written to Boris Johnson to raise their concerns as part of the ‘Keep Sunday Special’ campaign.

The news comes as Bira created a five-step guide to help independent retailers open again with confidence later this month.

The five-step guide to a Covid-secure reopening takes members through what they need to do to be safe and compliant ahead of reopening on 15 June .

It also contains valuable guidance for those already allowed to trade – steps such as completing a risk assessment.

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