Explanatory Notes



1. These Explanatory Notes relate to the Sunday Trading (London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games) Bill [HL] ("the Bill") as introduced in the House of Lords on 28th March 2012. They have been prepared by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills in order to assist the reader of the Bill and to help inform debate on it. They do not form part of the Bill and have not been endorsed by Parliament.

2. The Notes need to be read in conjunction with the Bill. They are not, and are not meant to be, a comprehensive description of the Bill. So where a clause or part of a clause does not seem to require any explanation or comment, none is given.


3. The Bill suspends for the period of the Olympics and Paralympics the current restrictions in the Sunday Trading Act 1994 ("the 1994 Act") on Sunday opening times for certain large shops. The Bill would remove these restrictions so that all shops, of whatever size, can choose their own Sunday opening times for the period of the Olympics and Paralympics.

4. This Bill will not affect existing protections for shop workers in Part IV of the Employment Rights Act 1996.


5. The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in the Budget on 21 March 2012 that the Government intended to suspend the Sunday opening hours restrictions on large shops during the period of the Olympics and Paralympics.

6. At present paragraph 2 of Schedule 1 to the 1994 Act limits the opening times on a Sunday for certain large shops (large shops are those with a relevant floor area over 280 sq m/3000 sq feet). The Act restricts them to opening on a Sunday for a maximum six hour period. The hours must be consecutive and must be between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. The Bill will suspend

these restrictions allowing these large shops to make their own decisions on Sunday opening times during the Olympics and Paralympics.

7. Small shops are not subject to Sunday trading restrictions, and so their freedom to open on Sundays will not be affected by the Bill. In addition, the Bill will not affect those categories of large shops that are already exempt from current Sunday trading restrictions, including―

· Airport shops

· Chemists

· Exhibition stalls

· Farm shops that sell their own produce

· Petrol filling stations

· Shops in railway stations

· Motorway service stations

8. The suspension of the Sunday opening hours restrictions applies on eight consecutive Sundays, beginning with the Sunday before the Olympic opening ceremony and ending with the Sunday on which the closing ceremony of the Paralympic Games will take place.

9. Shop workers have rights under part IV of the Employment Rights Act 1996 in relation to working on a Sunday. Shop workers who work on Sundays, or may be required to do so, can opt-out of Sunday working by giving notice to their employer (usually 3 months). Similarly, shop workers who cannot be required by their contract to work on a Sunday can notify their employer that they would like to do so, and can then agree with their employer to work on Sundays. These rights do not apply to shop workers who are employed to work only on Sundays. In addition the Act gives shop workers who aren’t specifically employed to work on a Sunday the right not to be dismissed, selected for redundancy or otherwise suffer a detriment for refusing to work on a Sunday. The Bill will not remove or restrict these rights.

territorial extent

10. The 1994 Act applies only to England and Wales. Since the Bill will suspend restrictions in that Act, the Bill extends to England and Wales only. The suspension of the restrictions will apply to shops throughout England and Wales. Sunday trading is not devolved in relation to Wales.


11. The Government intends to ask Parliament to expedite the parliamentary progress of this Bill.  In their report on Fast-track Legislation: Constitutional Implications and Safeguards, the House of Lords Select Committee on the Constitution recommended that where a Bill is to be fast-tracked, Parliament should be provided with the following information.

Why is fast-tracking necessary? What is the justification for fast-tracking each element of the Bill?

12. The Government has carefully considered the implications of using the fast-track process for expediting this Bill through Parliament. The Government considered using the usual Parliamentary process for this Bill but came to the conclusion that the imminence of the London Olympics and Paralympics justified the exceptional use of the fast-track process for this Bill. Any delay in the legislation could mean that the full benefits to the UK economy that this Bill is designed to facilitate will not be realised. This is a short Bill, implementing a temporary and deregulatory measure designed to enable business and consumers to take full advantage of benefits that the London Olympics and Paralympics can bring. The Government considers that the use of the fast-track process is fully justified in this case. It is important that the Bill is passed as soon as possible so that businesses and shop workers can make their arrangements for the period of the Olympics and Paralympics as much in advance as possible.

What efforts have been made to ensure the amount of time made available for parliamentary scrutiny has been maximised?

13. The Government will make Parliamentary time available to ensure that this Bill is scrutinised. In addition contact has been made with the Opposition and the Lords Spiritual so they understand the nature of the Bill in that it is a time limited measure aimed at giving a short but sizable boost to the retail sector.

To what extent have interested parties and outside groups been given an opportunity to influence the policy proposal?

14. Due to the need to ensure that the Bill is drafted and ready for First Reading on the 28th March, only the main Opposition Party and Lords Spiritual have had a chance to comment on the proposals. Between First and Second Reading it is intended that interested parties and outside groups will be consulted and given the opportunity to comment on and where necessary influence the policy.

Does the Bill include a sunset clause (as well as any appropriate renewal procedure)? If not, why do the Government judge that their inclusion is not appropriate?

15. The Bill contains a sunset clause, repealing the Bill at the end of the period of suspension of the Sunday trading restrictions.

Are mechanisms for effective post-legislative scrutiny and review in place? If not, why do the Government judge that their inclusion is not appropriate?

16. The suspension of Sunday trading restrictions effected by the Bill will be time limited, expiring on 9th September 2012. Accordingly, the Government does not judge that post-legislative scrutiny is required for this Bill. Should the Government ever decide that it is appropriate to look again at the possibility of a more permanent relaxation of Sunday trading restrictions a full consultation would be undertaken.

Has an assessment been made as to whether existing legislation is sufficient to deal with any or all of the issues in question?

17. Existing legislation does not confer powers to achieve a temporary suspension of the Sunday trading restrictions. Nor is there sufficient time to effect this suspension by means of a Legislative Reform Order. Therefore primary legislation is required to achieve the suspension.

Have relevant parliamentary committees been given the opportunity to scrutinise the legislation?

18. Due to the nature of this Bill and the need to ensure that the suspension of the Sunday trading restrictions can take effect in time for the Olympics and Paralympics, full Committee scrutiny will not be possible. However, the Government will ensure that both Houses have time to debate the Bill.


Clause 1: Suspension of restriction on Sunday trading hours

19. Subsection (1) disapplies, during the "suspension period" (as to which see the commentary on subsection (3) below), the current restrictions imposed by paragraph 2 of Schedule 1 to the 1994 Act on the Sunday opening hours of large shops. Large shops are shops with a "relevant floor area" exceeding 280 square metres. As a result, large shops will be free to choose to open for as long as they wish on the Sundays in question. As a result of lifting the opening hours restrictions, the duty imposed by paragraph 6 of Schedule 1 to the 1994 Act on large shops to display a notice specifying their Sunday opening hours will not apply during the suspension period.

20. Subsection (2) ensures that the provisions regarding loading and unloading at large shops on Sunday mornings contained in Schedule 3 to the 1994 Act will continue to apply in the usual way during the suspension period. So large shops which currently need local authority consent in order to load/unload before 9 a.m. on Sunday mornings will continue to need that consent during the suspension period. A large shop which has already obtained such a consent from a local authority will continue to be able to rely on that consent during the suspension period despite any longer hours the shop may be open for during that period.

21. Subsection (3) defines the "suspension period", namely the period during which the disapplication of the Sunday opening hours restrictions (and the disapplication of the duty to display a notice specifying the shop's Sunday opening hours) will apply. This period will start on Sunday 22nd July 2012 and will end on Sunday 9th September. The 22nd July is the Sunday which precedes the opening ceremony for the Olympic Games (which is to take place on 27th July). The 9th September is the day on which the closing ceremony will take place for the Paralympic Games.

22. Subsections (3) and (4) make clear that the suspension period falls within the "London Olympics period", as defined in section 1(3) of the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006. The London Olympics period begins four weeks before the day of the opening ceremony of the Olympics Games and ends five days after the day of the closing ceremony of the Paralympics Games.

Clause 2: Duration , extent and short title

23. Subsection (1) provides that the Bill is repealed at the end of the suspension period (as defined by subsection (3) of clause 1).

24. Subsection (2) provides that the Bill extends only to England and Wales. The 1994 Act itself (restrictions in which will be suspended by the Bill) extends only to England and Wales.

financial effects

25. It is considered that the provisions contained within the Bill will have no substantial effect on public expenditure. There is the potential for there to be an increased number of applications to local authorities for permits to load/unload before 9am on a Sunday morning from those shops that choose to take advantage of the suspension of the restrictions, though such costs will be met by retailers through the application fee. There is also the possibility of increased enforcement costs for local authorities where shops opening and loading/unloading earlier have not obtained the necessary loading/unloading consents. It is not anticipated that this will have a significant effect on local authority expenditure.

public service manpower

26. The provisions contained within the Bill have no substantial effect on public service manpower.

impact assessment

27. The provisions contained within the Bill do not require an Impact Assessment. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has nevertheless completed an Impact Assessment that is a qualitative assessment of existing economic impact evidence which is at Annex C.

european convention on human rights

28. Section 19 of the Human Rights Act 1998 requires the Minister in charge of a Bill in either House of Parliament to make a statement before Second Reading about the compatibility of the provisions of the Bill with the Convention Rights (as defined in section 1 of that Act).

29. The appropriate Minister has made a statement pursuant to section 19 of the Human Rights Act 1998 to the effect that in his view the provisions in the Bill are compatible with the Convention rights.


30. The Bill will come into force automatically on Royal Assent (as a result of section 4(b) of the Interpretation Act 1978).

Prepared 29th March 2012