Supermarket shopping Sunday trading

The government’s proposals to reform the Sunday trading rules are on a knife-edge as the Scottish National Party (SNP) prepares to meet tonight ahead of Wednesday’s crucial vote in the Commons.

The party will meet this evening to confirm its position on whether it will side with the government on allowing larger shops to open longer hours on Sundays where local authorities give them the freedom to do so.

Press reports have claimed that about 30 SNP MPs are pushing for the party to oppose the measures despite the fact that extended opening hours already operate North of the Border.

An SNP source confirmed to The Grocer that members of the Scottish parliament would meet this evening to debate the issues but there was still “a lot to weigh up and consider”.

The Association of Convenience Stores, part of the Keep Sunday Special campaign, said that even if the SNP decided to vote against the proposals for large stores to open for longer hours, Conservative rebels would need to hold firm in their opposition for the proposals to be defeated.

The British Council of Shopping Centres, meanwhile, has urged MPs to back the government’s proposals.

John Coyne, Chief Executive, BCSC, said: “Local councils are best placed to make decisions on local trading hours, to help strengthen local economies and enable the retail sector to create more local jobs.”