BPF: Government right to devolve Sunday trading hours liberalisation to local level
The property industry has supported Government proposals to devolve decisions on Sunday trading hours to local authorities, but has advised that powers should not be devolved to smaller areas within local authorities.
Responding to a Government consultation, the British Property Federation (BPF) argued that local authorities are best placed to understand the needs of local businesses and their customers, and that the liberalisation of Sunday trading hours will allow shops to compete better with online retailers, to the benefit of consumers.
The trade body warned, however, that allowing local authorities to pick and choose individual areas for liberalisation could put a severe logistical and financial burden on large scale landlords of retail units, and cause confusion among local consumers.
Melanie Leech, chief executive of the British Property Federation, said “The most important goal in liberalising Sunday trading should be to provide consumers with greater convenience and choice, and we are therefore very supportive of the proposals. While the overall picture of liberalisation is positive, however, too much granularity in the devolution of these powers could prove logistically difficult for landlords, adding a financial burden with little benefit to them or their customers.
“Devolving the liberalisation of Sunday trading hours will be a boon to the high street at a time when town centre regeneration is a key policy on local authorities’ agendas, and a further positive step on the road to ensuring policy-making supports local needs.”