Column: Sunday trading plan makes sense

Pocklington Town Centre
Pocklington Town Centre

Members of Parliament are still receiving correspondence on the subject of Sunday trading following an indication by the Chancellor of the Exchequer that the Government wishes to devolve decision-making in this area.

The proposal is that local councils should have the right to determine Sunday trading hours in their area, giving them greater control over the regional economy.

This makes sense.

Instead of the Government telling each and every region of the UK that shops can open longer, local authorities should be able to make a decision based on the nature of the communities they serve.

At this stage, an early vote on the matter is unlikely.

However, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills says “the arrival of the internet has changed our habits radically and many of us have got used to the freedom to buy what we need at any time that suits us.”

They argue that the restrictions in place are holding back the retail sector, increasing prices for customers.

Many trade unions are against these plans, as are some religious groups, but why should they be? All the Government is seeking to do is to give power to local councils to make their own decision, so I find it hard to see why anyone would oppose that.

If powers are devolved, there is then an argument about whether local councils should change the present arrangements – but that is not a reason against giving councils the powers in the first place.

Whatever the day of the week, when telephoning a businesses that is open, it is infuriating to receive a pre-recorded message alleging they are experiencing ‘an unusually high volume of calls at the moment’ with the recording adding ‘we cannot take your call so phone back later’ before throwing you off the line with no opportunity to leave them a message.

Organisations that use these tactics do not deserve support. When a business is open, there is no excuse for failing to provide a service where a message can be left.

• Would you like to see changes to Sunday trading in Pocklington? Send your letters to news@pocklingtontoday.co.uk along with your name and address.