Sunday best for small business

Existing Sunday trading laws have been in place for over ten years and at present slightly favour small firms, but Government proposals to relax these laws to the detriment of SMEs have come up against strong resistance from the Federation of Small Businesses.

Currently the law prevents businesses with premises of over 3,000 sq ft from trading for more than six hours on a Sunday. Whilst many existing policies are seen to benefit large firms, the restrictions they face during Sunday trading and the concurrent benefits experienced by SMEs, are seen by many as a counterbalance to this big business bias.

The move to relax these restrictions in both England and Wales has prompted the FSB to issue a response to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), expressing their disapproval.

‘The UK has lost 30,000 independent food, beverage and tobacco retailers over the past decade,’ says FSB national Trade and Industry Chair Clive Davenport, ‘in a climate where supermarkets get favourable treatment in planning and parking policies, it is important that in Sunday trading the balance is righted ever so slightly by favouring small shops.’ If the proposed changes are effected, small firms will inevitably come under added pressure.

‘It is time’, adds Davenport, ‘for the Government to give small shops a break and leave Sunday trading laws as they stand.’