Your correspondent, Paul O’Brien, is being disingenuous when he attempts to blame the SNP for the Government’s recent defeat on the Sunday Trading bill (View from the High Street, March 17).
Taking aside the fact that MPs from all the opposition parties, plus 26 Tory MPs, voted against the bill he wrongly asserts the bill only affected England; apparently Mr O’Brien doesn’t recognise Wales as anything other than an English province!
I’ve no doubt the SNP, in common with opposition parties generally, is hell-bent on defeating the Tories at every opportunity; however, the rationale put forward by the SNP for opposing the bill is sound.
As Mr O’Brien correctly states, Scotland already benefits from longer hours on Sundays; he conveniently omits, or hasn’t bothered to find out, that workers in Scotland are entitled to receive extra pay for Sunday working.
The concerns of the SNP, Labour, the shop workers union, churches and members of the public, are that any changes to workers’ rights and conditions contained within the bill would apply across the whole of the UK; not just England, and this bill would enable employers to avoid paying the premium to the 60,000 workers whose rights are currently protected.
The issue is not Sunday trading, but the impact the bill might have on workers’ terms and conditions.
Mr O’Brien’s frustration at not being able to trade for longer hours on a Sunday may be understandable, but he should get his facts right before pointing the finger of blame at the SNP.
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