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Sunday Trading and Shops Act
The Sunday Trading and Shops Act

An Act to reform the law relating to Sunday trading and to give shops the freedom to determine their own opening hours, while protecting the rights of employees

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

Section 1: Basic provisions

1. All shops, regardless of size, location or type are permitted to determine their own opening hours without interference from government or local authorities.

2. All restrictions on the sale of certain type of goods in shops on certain days, or between certain times, are hereby abolished.

3. This Act shall not be construed to apply to Public Houses or other premises licensed for the consumption of alcohol.

Section 2: Local Acts

1. The Secretary of State may by order made by statutory instrument:

a. Repeal any provision of a local Act passed before or in the same Session as this Act if it appears to him that the provision is inconsistent with or has become unnecessary in consequence of any provision of this Act, and

b. Amend any provision of such a local Act if it appears to him that the provision requires amendment in consequence of any provision of this Act or any repeal made by virtue of paragraph (a) above.

2. It shall be the duty of the Secretary of State, before he makes an order under subsection (1) above repealing or amending any provision of a local Act, to consult each local authority which he considers would be affected by the repeal or amendment of that provision.

Section 3: Protection of workers

1. For retail workers on existing contracts that do not already specify Sunday scheduling, Sunday working shall be voluntary; workers must agree, in writing, to Sunday scheduling. This agreement can be revoked in writing so long as the employee remains under a contract agreed to before this act came into force.

2. No worker on an existing contract that does not already specify Sunday scheduling shall be forced or intimidated into changing that contract or into agreeing contract changes against their will. Nor may employers discriminate, in any way, against existing workers who decline to agree to Sunday scheduling.

4. The above provisions do not apply to new contracts agreed after this act comes into force.

5. All other employment laws and regulations remain in force for Sunday working as they do for work conducted at any other time.

Section 4: Repeal of Acts

1. The 1950 Shops Act is hereby repealed in its entirety.

2. All sections of other Acts, which stand in contradiction of these measures are hereby repealed.

Section 5: Enactment

1. The provisions of this Act to become law on approval of Her Majesty The Queen.

Madam Speaker

I am introducing this bill as I believe that our Sunday trading laws are outdated and unfit for a modern consumer economy. I hope that the government will make time for it and work with me to see it enacted into law.

My view has always been that shoppers should be free to choose when to shop and that stores should be free to open when they wish. It is extraordinarily anachronistic for government to mandate that retail outlets be closed on Sundays and equally illogical when other services such as restaurants or public houses are already permitted to open.

Freeing retailers from restrictions will likely provide a boost to local economies, but that is not the primary reason for the legislation. The main reason is one of freedom: to allow people more scope to shop when they wish and for companies to open at the times which best suit them and their customers. 

In making these changes I have been very conscious of the need to protect retail workers. No one wishes to see new shift patterns forced on existing employees; that would be unfair. As such, I have built provisions into the legislation to account for this. Of course, some workers might actually value the opportunity to boost their earning potential by taking on extra hours on a Sunday. They are currently denied this opportunity and this new law would make it possible for them to enhance their wages.

Madam Speaker, I see this act as part of a necessary modernization of our laws as we respond to the rapid changes in how people are choosing to live their lives.
Mrs Margo Leadbetter
Conservative MP for Surbiton

Representing the silent majority! 
Madam Speaker, please move to Second Reading.
Prime Minister John Kenneth Masters, MP for Torbay

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