Campaign group Keep Sunday Special have reissued their calls to MPs to vote against proposals to devolve Sunday trading hours to local authorities, highlighting the failure of Government officials to go through a legitimate and robust consultation process in making their decision.
Keep Sunday Special issued the Government notice of a legal challenge to the Sunday trading proposals earlier this month, questioning the legitimacy of the process that the Government have gone through in analysing the potential impact of devolved Sunday trading hours. The deadline for the Government to respond to this letter before action is today (March 8th), but as of yet there has been no response.
On Monday, the Government refused to comply with a Freedom of Information request from Keep Sunday Special, stating that they would not release of the responses to the consultation as it would have a ‘disproportionate impact’ on the Department to do so, despite admitting that they were in possession of the information.
A spokesperson for Keep Sunday Special said: “Giving local authorities free reign over Sunday trading hours will have a damaging impact on shopworkers, families and the economy. The Government have ignored a wealth of evidence in support of retaining the existing rules and have decided to blindly push on with their plans, which has resulted in an ever growing rebellion from all sides of the house. The Government cannot be allowed to get away with forcing through this measure – we urge MPs from all parties to vote against the plans tomorrow.”
The Government have also been criticised for failing to publish the impact assessments and analysis of the proposals under the family test, despite Ministers claiming that they were being put together months ago. Independent research by the Social Market Foundation has suggested that the proposals disregard the family test, which was put in place by the Prime Minister in 2014.
Since the consultation on Sunday trading devolution concluded, there have been dozens of Parliamentary questions tabled by concerned MPs about the Government’s decision making process on this issue.
Published on 8th March 2016