UPDATED: Government drops plans to change Sunday trading laws

Commercial Road in Portsmouth.  Picture: C�sar Moreno Huerta

Commercial Road in Portsmouth. Picture: C�sar Moreno Huerta

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TORY rebels joined forces with SNP and Labour MPs to block a plan which would have seen control of Sunday trading hours handed to local councils.

The government has dropped the proposal after it was rejected in the Commons by 317 votes – including 27 Tories – to 286.

Deputy Portsmouth council leader Councillor Luke Stubbs was among the backers of the move to devolve power over Sunday trading hours.

Cllr Stubbs said it was a shame that the Scottish MPs could vote against the proposal, which would have only affected England.

Cllr Luke Stubbs said: ‘It’s a sorry state of affairs when legislation that only affects England is blocked by Scottish nationalists, when they already have fully liberalised hours already north of the border.

‘Devolving decision making to local authorities and local communities is a good thing to do.’

But Neil Eames from the Federation of Small Business Wessex praised the outcome.

He said: ‘Our members have been unconvinced of the economic case for relaxing Sunday trading rules and there has been no impact assessment to support the proposals.

‘The current system could be seen as a great British compromise which could allow families to spend time together, employees to work if they wish to, and also providing much needed support for smaller retailers within their communities.’

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