Sunday trading laws are to be relaxed this summer in a move that could pave the way for longer weekend opening hours all year round.

George Osborne confirmed yesterday that he is to push through emergency legislation lifting the six-hour limit on opening hours for larger stores over eight weekends in July, August and September.

push through: 完成

The move, which brought protests from Labour, church leaders and trades unions, is designed to coincide with London’s hosting of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

trades union: (英)工会

The Chancellor, who will set out details in the Budget on Wednesday, said it would be an opportunity to try to stimulate the economy.

set out: 出发;开始;陈述;陈列

John Cridland, director-general of the Confederation of British Industry, told Sky’s Murnaghan programme: ‘I think there is a big difference between a temporary measure to try and lock in some of the spending of the thousands and thousands of international visitors who will come to Britain during the Olympics on a Sunday and a permanent change.

director-general: 总干事;理事长;署长

Confederation of British Industry: 英国工业联合会

‘If it is a permanent change we would need to consult a lot of people, the shops themselves and the workers in those shops, but a temporary change just for the Olympics – every little helps.’

Labour accused the Government of a ‘disgraceful’ failure to consult on the move.

on the move:四处奔波 

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls said: ‘Today, on Mothering Sunday, there are mums at home with their kids because Sunday trading laws mean they can have the morning off.’

Mothering Sunday: 拜望双亲日(英国的旧母亲节,四旬节后第四个星期日)

John Hannett, general secretary of shopworkers’ union Usdaw, said: ‘Our members are vehemently opposed to any further deregulation of Sunday trading hours and the Government’s own consultation on this just last year showed that there is no widespread support from either retailers or the general public for change.

Under the Sunday Trading Act 1994, large shops over 280 square metres in England and Wales are restricted to six hours’ continuous trading between 10am and 6pm on Sundays and cannot open at all on Easter Sunday.

Some major retailers have been lobbying in Whitehall for at least five years for the restrictions to be torn up.

tear up: 撕毁;撕碎;拉掉

The stores argue that 7,500 jobs would be created, generating extra money for the economy and the Government through tax. Tesco, Asda, Ikea and the DIY chains have thrown their weight behind the campaign in the past.

throw weight behind: 利用自身影响帮助