‘Archaic’ Sunday trading laws will be reviewed after 40 MPs back call to lift them during coronavirus crisis


Supermarket chiefs want more flexible hours so NHS staff and vulnerable customers can have more time — and to shorten queues, which would help maintain social distancing.

Britain’s Sunday trading laws will be reviewed after 40 MPs backed a call to lift them

The MPs have called on Business Secretary Alok Sharma to suspend the current laws, which limit stores larger than 3,000sq ft to six hours of opening on a Sunday.

Tory Nusrat Ghani, who launched the campaign with Labour’s Peter Kyle, said: “Supermarkets are being overwhelmed.

“It is absurd to keep these restrictions in place.”

Richard Walker, boss of the Iceland chain, said: “My hands are tied with these archaic Sunday trading laws.

“This is a moment of national crisis and we need our shops open.”

A Morrisons spokesman added: “We would appreciate a relaxation of the Sunday trading laws so that we can open an hour early to serve hardworking NHS staff . . . and perhaps stay open an hour later now spring is here.”

The two major supermarkets voiced their support for a change in the law after the campaign was revealed in HOAR on Sunday last week.

Tesco and Morrisons open an hour earlier for NHS staff on Sundays but cannot process payments until the official opening time.

On Saturday night ministers confirmed that a review was under way.

A spokesman said: “We continue to have regular conversations with the food sector and will keep measures, including Sunday Trading rules, under review in these unprecedented times.”