Calls to extend Sunday trading in central London to boost Covid economy

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Calls to extend Sunday trading in central London to boost Covid economy
Nickie Aiken MP said later Sunday trading would have a “knock on effect for bars and restaurants”
// Nickie Aiken, MP for Cities of London and Westminster, calls for extending Sunday trading in central London by 2 hours
// She says it will “provide a major boost to the economy” amid the coronavirus pandemic
// Aiken would welcome the current business rate freeze being extended for another 12 months

Extending Sunday trading in parts of London by two hours would “provide a major boost to the economy” amid the coronavirus pandemic, a Tory MP has said.

Nickie Aiken, MP for Cities of London and Westminster, warned that despite the government’s “unprecedented” support for business, “central London is still struggling”.

Speaking to the Commons, Aiken said later Sunday trading would have a “knock on effect for bars and restaurants” as she outlined a list of measures which she said the government “may wish to consider that could help protect jobs and businesses”.


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“Adding an additional two hours at the end of Sunday trading, extending it from 6pm to 8pm would provide a major boost to the economy,” she said.

“Now while I appreciate that this is quite controversial for some of my colleagues, I would like to make it clear that I’m only calling for it at this moment for international designated areas such as Knightsbridge and the West End.

“I’m sure there would be a knock on effect for bars and restaurants as people decide to travel to central London later and enjoy a meal and drinks once the shops close.”

She added: “We must ensure that London is seen to be open to the world so that it can continue to compete with other global cities such as New York, Paris and Tokyo.

“I would ask the Government to consider these measures as I have suggested in order to protect both London’s position as a global cultural hub and the UK’s standing as a major business and visitor destination, safeguarding millions of jobs and livelihoods across the nation.”

Pre-Covid she noted over 600,000 commuters came into Westminster every day to work, another 500,000 in the City of London.

“The local economy relies on these small workers spending in small shops and independent cafes and restaurants, but they are not coming back in the same numbers,” Aiken said.

“Central London is the economic powerhouse of UK plc, driving forward this government’s levelling up agenda and is usually a first out of the traps following recession or downturn, sadly this time it looks like we will be amongst one of the last.”

She said the furlough scheme had secured jobs in the West End, but added: “As the MP for Theatreland, I want to make sure that we can protect the theatres even more so and I welcome the Government’s £1.5 billion cultural support package, but I hope that we can keep the theatres open when they come back in the new year and a bit more help for them would be welcome.”

Aiken also said she would welcome the current business rate freeze being extended for another 12 months.

with PA Wires

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6 COMMENTS

  1. They could also reverse Sadiq Khan’s ludicrous extension of the congestion zone timings (now 7 days per week and up to 10pm). Furthermore, stop the anti-car road adjustments – it brings buses to a halt too.

  2. Just scrap the Sunday trading laws altogether or at least allow shops to open longer for e.g. 9am to 6/7pm across the country its a ridiculous and very outdated law in this day and age they should be trying everything to try and restart the economy and have more people in jobs.

  3. They should extend Business rates holiday until such time as it is replaced.
    In London I see no point in extending the retail hours of the shops on a Sunday nationwide yes but not London.

    It would be far better for shops to close on a Sunday in London and rents to be re-negotiated so that trading is reflected in either 6 day trading or even five day trading.

    It makes sense to shut the shops in London at Weekends and open 12 Midday to 7pm Monday to Friday to save on staffing costs and overheads as London and the big cities are dead.

    • I thought many retailers still had limited hours, if you look at westfield for example some stores are still closing at 6/7pm mon to sat. I don’t know about oxford street but if people aren’t going there and footfall is down then agreed shops should open shorter hours still.

  4. I say get people back to the offices in London would give retail a boost if they are coming into London in the week then they surly are not going to come in on a Sunday!

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