Afew weeks ago David Ramsden, acting as spokesman for the organisation Deregulate, clarified why he thought that the Sunday trading regulations should be changed (The Grocer, April 8, p30).

As MD of Spar in the UK, I firmly believe that changing the law in England and Wales will reduce the viability of many small retailers. I'm not saying that they will go out of business, but they will definitely suffer turnover decline - look at any convenience retailer's Sunday trade and you will see that the store is at busiest between 4pm and 7pm, bang on as other stores close.

Is this an unfair advantage? I don't know - because I'm not sure what's fair anymore. There are plenty of examples of businesses that already seem to have unfair advantages, while very few (if any) are exhibited by the independent retailers that we represent.

In truth I would be the last to judge fairness in this case, but isn't it about time that small and medium retailers were offered a bit of respite from the relentless hammering of bureaucracy and the market dominance that exists in most sectors?

And that brings me neatly to the point: Sunday trading reform - why? Ramsden claims to be speaking for all retailers when he calls for reform. Well, as far as I am aware, the British Retail Consortium is the primary body representing retail in the UK and it was not consulted in advance over the timing, rationale or purpose of this review, nor did it call for the reform. The DTI created this consultation on the basis that "business wants it", yet when the Association of Convenience Stores asked the DTI Retail Unit about this, it had not even heard of the review, let alone proposed it.

We have an oversupply of retail space as it is - and more trading hours effectively equals more space. Why make things worse? Especially as, according to research group Capital Economics, "demand for retail floor space will slow over the next two years".

Sunday trading's big winners are out-of-town retail parks where offers are clustered together. Such locations already occupy almost a third of retail space, and have increased in size by more than two thirds in the past ten years, whereas the high street and neighbourhood space has decreased.

MP Jim Dowd's All-Party Parliamentary Small Shops Group has told us that the high street and retailers that occupy the high street are seriously under threat. Why make life harder for a group of businesses that some consumers cannot live without?

Finally, the Office of Fair Trading has announced that it is to ask the Competition Commission to review the grocery market. Why make changes to trading conditions now, before the output of that review?

The answer, of course, is that a very small number of retailers sit behind Deregulate. They are market leaders in their sector and they will benefit from these changes, whereas other retailers will incur more cost for the same sales as they are forced to compete by opening longer hours.

The picture painted by Ramsden of consumers being wrenched from superstore fixtures at closing time on a Sunday is colourful but surprising - as nearly half (45%, according to HIM) of the population don't even know that Sunday trading laws exist, let alone are inconvenienced by them.

So I can see why a small number of sector-leading retailers want the change - it would give them increasing advantage over their smaller rivals - but I'd be amazed if this was truly a consumer black spot.

Spar is not fighting this corner because neighbourhood retailing is struggling in the face of competition, as the privately commissioned Verdict report suggests, but because we believe that the consumer benefits from a varied retail landscape.

The trading environment for independent retailers is becoming increasingly difficult. Should we add to their burden simply to make more money for shareholders? These retailers should be given a helping hand, not another knock in the guise of deregulation.