Lords hear Sunday trading plans still on the cards

The House of Lords has heard Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) Baroness Neville-Rolfe, the former Dobbies Garden Centres chairman, reiterate that the Government still has plans to allow local authorities to extend Sunday trading after a Bill on the issue failed in Parliament last month

The Scottish Nationalists Party blocked the Bill.

Neville-Rolfe was responding to a question from Baroness Deech to the Government on whether they still have plans to reform Sunday trading laws.

Neville-Rolfe said the Government intended any relaxation of the law, which only allows six hours of opening for large shops, to be up to local authorities. She said extensions could be good for tourism spend and SMEs.

Lord Skelmersdale, whose wife Lady Skelmersdale runs Broadleigh Bulbs, spoke to point out how a chain of garden centres might be able to open in one local authority but not another, calling the situation a "postcode lottery".

Neville-Rolfe said that would reflect different views of councils but added that Skelmersdale was right to have brought up garden centres because the HTA is "particularly keen" to extend hours so more plants can be sold on Sundays.

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