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UK News

Bishop calls for double pay for Sunday shop workers

Rt Revd Peter Forster of Chester was speaking in a House of Lords debate on plans to relax the laws on Sunday trading.

REX/Andrew Price

He joked that if the law is changed, he could bring about a private member's bill to impose such a financial cost on employers as a disincentive to opening on a Sunday.

As peers questioned government ministers about the plans to devolve responsibility on the issue to local councils, Bishop Peter said: "Would a useful reform be to go back to the good old days when people were paid double time for working on Sunday, then the shops wouldn't want to open, mainly? If I was to introduce a private member's bill, would the Government support me?"

Lord Lawson said: "This is an issue which obviously needs discussion and I cannot think of a better way of launching that discussion."

What the change means

Current law:
Stores over 280 square metres in England and Wales are only allowed to open for six continuous hours on a Sunday.

Proposed change:
Powers devolved to local authorities for them to decide if they wish to extend the hours.

The bishop was met with some opposition in the House however. Baroness Deech urged the Government to speed up the process and deregulate along Scottish lines.

"We are in a multicultural society and England should be as liberal as Scotland in Sunday trading laws," the cross-bench peer said.

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