sainsbury's opening times sunday trading

Nearly 60% of consumers are concerned about small shops losing out because of the looming relaxation of Sunday trading laws, according to a new YouGov poll, with less than half thinking the plan is a good idea.

The poll, of almost 2,000 consumers, found 48% thought the extension of Sunday trading hours was a good idea, versus 33% who were opposed, with the remaining 19% unsure.

The poll also found a majority (54%) thought the proposals would be bad for workers.

The public also appeared to agree with concerns, raised yesterday by the BRC, that the government’s plan to allow local councils to decide whether or not they would take part in the relaxation was a recipe for chaos.

A third of consumers who responded thought local decision-making by authorities on the issue was a bad idea, with 63% of consumers saying it would cause confusion among the public.

However, the poll also showed the changes could mean a big shift in shopping habits.

A fifth (21%) of respondents said they would do more shopping on a Sunday if the changes were implemented; while 12% said they would shop at a different time on a Sunday.

A spokesman for YouGov said: “It’s clear that consumers do see the advantages of the proposed changes from a personal perspective, but are nervous about how workers and smaller shops will be impacted.”

Business leaders warned different approaches across the country would cause havoc, and ministers were slammed for basing their evidence on the impact of relaxation on results from Sweden in the 1970s.