Julian lobbies government to suspend Sunday Trading restrictions to aid families and key workers
April 6, 2020
Julian has joined members of Parliament’s Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee in writing to the Secretary of State for Business, Alok Sharma MP, to call for the suspension of Sunday Trading Laws for as long as emergency powers are in effect.
Julian believes that the current restrictions imposed on shops make it much harder for supermarkets to manage the number of shoppers entering their premises on the weekend, which only leads to overcrowding, making it harder for the public to follow Government guidelines on social distancing.
A temporary relaxation of Sunday Trading Laws would allow supermarkets to open for longer than six hours on a Sunday, meaning that the weekend demand for groceries could be spread over more hours, and queues for supermarkets would be less likely. Furthermore, longer trading hours on a Sunday would allow key workers more opportunities to go shopping for essentials around their shift pattern.
As a member of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, Julian has been monitoring efforts by the government and manufacturers to ensure the integrity of food supply chains throughout the Covid-19 outbreak. Manufacturers are confident that supply can be increased to ensure supermarket shelves remain stocked, especially now that the initial impulse to panic buy has subsided, and supermarkets chains are conducting large recruitment drives so they have the staff to deal with greater demand.
After signing the letter, Julian said:
“It is clear that it is no longer business as usual. In extraordinary times, the Government must look at all options to improve access to essentials for the public, especially our key workers.
It is no longer enough that manufacturers have increased production to avoid shortages, if the supermarkets are not open for long enough for shoppers to be able to buy anything.
It has been reassuring to see supermarket chains introduce a number of measures to help protect shoppers and workers, including limiting the number of shoppers that can enter a store at one time, clearly marking 2m intervals on the shop floor, and installing screens at checkouts, but these efforts can only go so far if the demand for the supermarket is being bottlenecked into limited hours under normal Sunday Trading rules.”