UK to increase Sunday shopping hours

shopping bags, retailThe British government has announced plans to allow shops to open longer on Sundays to compete with online shopping and global tourist destinations like Paris and New York.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, said he wanted to give mayors and local authorities the power to decide Sunday shopping hours in his budget, which will be unveiled on Wednesday.

“It is clear that there is still a growing appetite for shopping on a Sunday,” Osborne said.

“The rise of online shopping, which people can do round the clock, also means more retailers want to be able to compete by opening for longer at the weekend.”

A previous bid to reform Sunday shopping hours proved controversial and failed amid protests in 2006, and Osborne’s plan is expected to meet opposition from unions and the Church of England, which has defended a common day off on Sunday as important for “family stability and community life”.

Britain’s existing 1994 law prevents larger shops from opening for more than six hours on Sundays, a rule that was relaxed during the London Olympics in 2012.

AFP

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