Trade body calls for garden centres to be exempted from Sunday trading law

The HTA is calling on Government to exempt garden centres from the "outdated" 1994 Sunday Trading Act

Today in 1994, the Sunday Trading Act came into law. Twenty years later, some of the regulations introduced by the Act seem particularly outdated. This is especially the case for garden centres, which are covered by the Act purely due to their need to be a large size, a necessity for display their live products, said the HTA.

The association added:"While having restricted Sunday opening hours causes significant economic implications for garden centres, it is also families and hobby gardeners who also suffer from this unnecessary regulatory burden on their enjoyment.

"Garden centres play important roles as leisure destinations for families and hobby gardeners, supporting 20 million people throughout the UK who enjoy gardening.

"However, the current Sunday trading restrictions are making it more difficult for families and gardeners to enjoy their hobby as they only have a very limited time period on Sundays during which they can get supplies and plants from garden centres."

The HTA said that there is no substantial difference in working hours between Scottish garden centres, where there are no trading restrictions in place, and garden centres in England and Wales, where the Act is still in force.

"The 1994 Sunday Trading Act is particularly out of touch in light of the growing 24/7 internet trading culture, rather than unnecessarily penalising direct retail businesses already struggling to compete. The Government should be looking to support them to thrive in this economic climate particularly SMEs, which the majority of garden centres are."

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