In a motion submitted by Councillor Andy Stamp to full council on Thursday Medway Labour is encouraging the council to defend local businesses and reject exploitative proposals to extend Sunday opening hours. Sadly the Tories chose to oppose the motion.
Medway Labour’s Regeneration and Communities spokesperson, Councillor Andy Stamp will still be writing to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Sajid Javid, on the issue but is disappointed that this couldn’t be done on a cross party basis: ‘Naturally I’m disappointed to see the Tories fail to stand up for local businesses in Medway. If we choose to extend Sunday trading hours it will be large, corporate businesses that will benefit at the expense of small and medium sized enterprises who could lose up to 20 per cent of their takings at the till.
Medway Labour will continue to stand up for these local businesses and will make representation to the government.’
USDAW union has launched a campaign to ‘Keep Sunday’s Special’. USDAW’s General Secretary, John Hannett, does not see the need for change: ‘The Sunday Trading Act is a great British compromise, which has worked well for over 20 years and gives everyone a little bit of what they want. Retailers can trade, customers can shop, staff can work; whilst Sunday remains a special day, different to other days, and shopworkers can spend some time with their family.’
Local Authorities will have direct oversight over licensing for shop opening hours as this will be a devolved function from central government.
Medway Labour is delighted to see that USDAW’s campaign to ‘Keep Sunday’s Special’ has been apparently supported by Rochester and Strood MP and Rochester West Councillor Kelly Tolhurst though she later claimed that whilst photographed supporting the campaign, this was actually only a listening exercise.
For the record we do support the consultation and there are no photos of Labour councillors on the supporting campaign.
The Conservatives locally are once again letting business down with conflicting messages.