The Chairman of the Association of Convenience Stores, Jonathan James, has spoken out against the Government’s relaxation of Sunday trading laws for the Olympics period.
He said “the decision to change the Sunday trading rules was a kneejerk decision based on the soundbite that ‘visitors should see the UK is open for business.'”
Mr James added: “It certainly wasn’t based on robust evidence, and Ministers admitted as much during the passage of the Sunday Trading (Olympics) Bill.”
Mr James spoke out against the common refrain that Sunday Trading relaxation would contribute to more economic growth.
He noted: “There has never been any evidence that extending trading hours for the biggest stores would lead to overall increase in sales in the retail sector.”
Chancellor George Osborne has said that there are no plans to extend the moves beyond the Olympics but there has been growing concern that the rules will become permanent.
But research by polling firm Ipsos MORI shows 52 per cent are against a permanent extension of the temporary arrangement, with just 36 per cent in support and 12 per cent undecided.
The figures show that among 55-to-64-year-olds, 63 per cent were against a permanent change, increasing to 66 per cent among the over-65s.
But younger generations are more likely to back letting stores open longer, with just 35 per cent against in the 15-to-24 category.
The Government has faced considerable opposition over the plans with many Labour MPs and trade unions among the critics.