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Britain Begins Consultation on Extending Sunday Trading Hours

Under the current law, large shops can open for six hours on Sundays, while smaller shops can remain open all day.

Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Prime Minister David Cameron’s government opened a consultation on plans to allow stores in England and Wales to stay open for longer on Sundays.

As part of a move to give cities more control over their economies, the government is asking companies and shoppers whether the power to extend Sunday trading hours should be handed to local leaders such as mayors through individual “devolution deals,” or whether all local authorities should have the discretion to do so. The consultation closes Sept. 16.

Under the current law, large shops can open for six hours on Sundays, while smaller shops can remain open all day. Easing trading restrictions could result in benefits valued at 1.4 billion pounds ($2.2 billion) a year, according to a government report. Paris recently relaxed Sunday trading restrictions in areas popular with tourists.

“This government is determined to devolve powers previously held in Whitehall to local people,” Communities Minister Brandon Lewis said in a statement. “That’s why we want to give local leaders the power to decide whether Sunday trading is right for their area, and to give their retailers the option to stay open for longer.”

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