The SNP will oppose the UK Government’s proposed shake-up of Sunday trading laws, its deputy leader confirmed last night.
Stewart Hosie said the group had agreed to vote against plans to give councils in England and Wales the freedom to decide whether larger stores should be able to stay open longer than the current six hours.
MPs will discuss the measures – contained in the Enterprise Bill – in the House of Commons chamber today.
Mr Hosie said his party’s primary concern was the protection of the premium pay currently received by employees in Scotland.
He added: “We have had Sunday trading in Scotland for some time and the SNP has never been opposed to it.
“However our concerns here are rooted in the knock-on impact to Scottish workers who would be at risk of pay cuts.”
Employment rights associated with proposed protections to workers who choose not to work on Sundays remain reserved to the UK Government under the Employment Rights
Mr Hosie insisted it was “not a closed door” and said if the government could come forward with a way to devolve the issue – or introduce better protections – the party could change its stance.
The Dundee MP said there had been no opposition to the party’s position from any of its MPs who had voted unanimously to support it at the meeting.
He also denied there had been any guarantee or understanding to the UK Government during the fiscal framework negotiations that the SNP would “automatically support” the plans.
Labour’s shadow business secretary Angela Eagle said she was delighted the SNP had decided they would join her party and the Tory rebels in opposing the deregulation of Sunday trading.
Number 10 has said it is right to give local communities more flexibility.