The Department for Trade and Industry has announced that it is seeking views from employees, businesses, consumers and religious groups as it takes a fresh look at the issues surrounding the current Sunday trading laws, which have been in place for more than ten years. The DTI has commented: "Consumers now have greater expectations. Many more people are in employment, often benefiting from flexible working outside core 9-5 weekday hours. We are a more multicultural society. There is greater recognition that we should only regulate where it is necessary to do so."
The DTI will commission an independent economic cost-benefit analysis, which it expects to be completed and published in the spring. The current laws permit large shops to open for six hours on Sunday and smaller shops have no opening restrictions. The Secretary of State has asked the DTI to review the pros and cons of further liberalisation of the Sunday Trading laws. However shop workers' union USDAW is opposed to longer opening hours arguing that enhanced payments for Sunday working have been eroded, with most stores paying normal weekday rates.