// New government proposals may see UK grocers have to stay open for longer on Sundays
// Business secretary Alok Sharma is considering the longer shopping hours
The government is drawing up new proposals which could mean supermarkets will stay open for longer on Sundays in a bid to make it easier for customers to buy essentials.
Business secretary Alok Sharma said he had launched a review this week of the laws that currently restrict Sunday opening times to six hours.
Sharma told the Commons Business Select Committee on Thursday that he was considering longer shopping hours on Sundays.
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The idea has since been introduced to 40 MPs on behalf of some retailers.
Earlier this month, Conservative MP Nusrat Ghani and Labour MP Peter Kyle wrote a letter to argue that a temporary relaxation could allow NHS staff with more shopping time, while also shortening queues.
However, this has been opposed by the shopworkers’ union Usdaw.
Moreover, the beginning of March saw supermarkets faced with high demand in certain products as customers stocked up on essential products due to fears prompted by the coronavirus outbreak.
Since then, demand for such products has returned to more normal levels, and the need to maintain social distancing has restricted the number of customers that managers can allow into stores.
Meanwhile, the six-hour Sunday trading window constrains the numbers the supermarkets can serve.
However, some grocers have already changed their opening hours, with Morrisons opening an hour early on Sunday, in defiance of the current rules.
While Aldi and Lidl have been in favour of extended Sunday hours, larger grocers such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s and the Co-op have been less enthusiastic.