Horticultural Trades Association joins Garden Centre Association in Easter Sunday opening campaign

The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) has called for Easter Sunday opening for garden centres ahead of the budget on 20 march.

Garden centres, with over 3,000 square feet of selling space, are subject to the Sunday Trading Act 1994 which prohibits large shops in England and Wales from opening on Easter Sunday and limits them to a maximum of six hours trading on other Sundays during the year.

HTA director general, Carol Paris said:"The Sunday Trading laws cause a high amount of confusion for gardeners and garden centres alike. It is time for change and we will work with the Garden Centre Association and other stakeholders, to influence government to amend this outdated and unnecessary legislation."

She added: "For many people the weekend is the only time available both to garden and to shop for the garden, and the long Easter weekend, during a peak gardening time, is clearly a premium time for this. Furthermore, garden centres play important roles as leisure destinations and as a focus for families and others within their communities. More fundamentally, the existing laws increasingly look out of place in an era of 24 hour internet trading."

HTA policy manager Gary Scroby said: "We recently cited the problem of Sunday Trading restrictions as an example of barriers to economic growth in a paper submitted by the Institute of Directors to No10 Downing Street.

"We have also suggested lifting the restrictions with Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury as an easy way to provide the national economy with a significant boost. We hope the Chancellor has taken note and he has some positive news for us in Wednesday’s Budget statement."

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