Published on 22 - May - 2008
Garden industry moves Sunday Trading debate onBill reaches committee stage.
The Private Members Bill on Sunday Trading has been committed to Committee Stage by the House of Lords.
The Bill - introduced on behalf of the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) by the Earl of Courtown - saw its second reading in the House of Lords on Friday May 16.
It seeks to amend the Sunday Trading Act 1994 and extend the trading hours of garden centres on a Sunday, including Easter Sunday.
The Bill was successfully committed to Committee Stage by the House on Friday. However, given the limited time available in the Lords to the end of the Parliamentary Session the HTA feels detailed discussion of the Bill in Committee will probably be the extent of the proceedings.
Following feedback from this the HTA will consider whether to approach the Government to take up the Bill in the House of Commons in the next session.
Commenting on the Bill, Lord Digby Jones said that the extension of Sunday Trading was an issue which if not right at this time was not to be ruled out indefinitely.
There was some opposition to the Bill primarily around the need to keep Sunday special along with concerns from trades unions about the impact on family life.
However, this opposition was welcomed by the HTA, as it highlighted issues that the HTA will have to address to take this Bill forward. This will allow contentious issues to be fully debated before further progress on this issue.
The sponsor of the Bill, the Earl of Courtown commented: "I am delighted to have been able to present this Bill and highlight the concerns of garden centres about the damage to their trade of these restrictive measures.
"The opposition we met was understandable but I am confident that once these concerns have been addressed then the logic and reasoning behind our Bill will eventually see it reach the statute book."
A date for Committee Stage is still to be announced.
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