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Monday 13th August 2012 | 17:35
The shopworkers' union Usdaw has written to the Business Secretary Vince Cable to seek urgent assurance that the Government has no plans to permanently deregulate Sunday trading hours in England and Wales.
Speculation today and over the weekend suggests some Ministers are lobbying for a permanent deregulation of Sunday trading laws in the wake of the temporary suspension forced through Parliament for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
John Hannett, Usdaw General Secretary said:
"Parliament only agreed a temporary suspension of Sunday trading laws during the Olympic and Paralympic Games because the Government promised it was neither a trial nor Trojan horse for permanent deregulation. Any move to deregulate now would justifiably be seen as a betrayal of that commitment and a gross breach of trust.
"Longer Sunday opening hours won't put more money in the pockets of hard pressed shoppers and there is no evidence it would boost jobs or growth. It would however have a very detrimental impact on the family and caring commitments of our members and fly totally in the face of the Prime Ministers' commitment to lead a family friendly Government.
"With margins being squeezed and sales flat lining, the last thing the retail sector needs at the moment is the prospect of increased overheads for little or no return. If the Government really wants to boost retail and the economy as a whole then it would be much better advised to immediately reduce the rate of VAT."