Trading hours 'boost to business'
Volunteers will help London's shops stay open longer during the Olympics
The Government said business will be boosted by the lifting of Sunday trading laws for larger stores during the Olympics and Paralympics.
Shops in England and Wales with a floor area of more than 280 square metres will be able to open longer from this Sunday for eight Sundays, to the end of the Paralympics on September 9. Business Minister Norman Lamb said: "The Olympic and Paralympic Games are almost upon us and you can sense the excitement building.
"This will be a fantastic opportunity to showcase, not just London, but the whole of the country to the rest of the world and provide a boost for the economy, sales and employment.
"Retail workers will keep all their legal protections, such as the right to opt-out of Sunday working, but many will want to take the opportunity to work extra or different hours. I want employers to work with their staff so that we can all make the most of the Olympics.
"I want to make it clear that this is a temporary measure and not a test case for a permanent relaxation of the rules in the future."
John Hannett, general secretary of the shopworkers' union Usdaw, said: "We're disappointed with those retailers who are increasing their Sunday opening hours, but have reached agreement with our major employers that any extra shifts and hours required will be staffed by volunteers who will receive premium rates of pay.
"While some workers will welcome additional hours, many will not, mainly because they have parental or caring responsibilities or simply because they want to share valuable weekend time with their family and friends.
"Usdaw remains vehemently opposed to the deregulation of Sunday trading and we expect the Government to abide by its commitment that this summer's temporary suspension will not lead to any further attempts to extend Sunday opening hours.
"The Government failed to make a coherent business case for the suspension and there is no evidence that it will boost the economy or tourism.
"Extended Sunday opening won't put more money in the pockets of hard-pressed shoppers and with margins being squeezed and sales flat lining, the last thing retail needs this summer is increased overheads with little or no return."
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