UK to extend Sunday shopping hours during London Olympics

Last Updated: Mar 18, 2012, 20:35 PM IST

London: There is good news for shoppers during the London Olympics with the government planning to temporarily suspend restrictions on trading on eight weekends from July 22.

Sunday trading laws are expected to be suspended by the UK government on eight weekends from July 22 during the Olympics and Paralympics, the BBC reported.

In his Budget, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne is set to propose emergency legislation so that large shops in England and Wales can trade for more than six hours.

"We`ve got the whole world coming to London - and the rest of the country - for the Olympics. It would be a great shame - particularly when some of the big Olympic events are on Sunday - if the country had a closed for business sign on it," Osborne said.

He said the changes would only apply to the Sundays of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

But shadow chancellor Ed Balls said there should be proper consultation and careful consideration before implementing change.

"George`s people have told the newspapers this is an experiment to change it for the future, breaking up centuries of tradition.

Campaign group `Keep Sunday Special` also said the plan was "profoundly worrying".

The Sunday Trading Act 1994 states that large shops over 280 square metres in England and Wales are restricted to any six hours of continuous trading between 10:00 and 18:00 on Sundays. And they cannot open at all on Easter Sunday.

While the Olympic Games will be held from July 27 to August 12, Paralympic Games are scheduled from August 29 to September 9.

PTI