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Relief for retailers

Shops can stay open at New Year after ban plan dropped

Multrees Walk, shop, retail, Edinburgh

Shoppers will be encouraged to shop over the New Year (pic: (Terry Murden)

Shops will be allowed to open on New Year’s Day after Ministers dropped plans for a legal ban.

The decision follows a consultation exercise held this summer and was welcomed by the Scottish Retail Consortium which campaigned to allow shops to decide whether or not to open.

Trade unions are likely to be less enthusiastic, arguing that shop staff deserve a break over the festive holiday period.

David Lonsdale, director of the SRC, said: “Retailers will breathe a sigh of relief in response to Scottish Ministers weighing the arguments and deciding not to proceed with a permanent legislative ban on shops trading on New Year’s Day.

“Ministers have clearly listened to our representations and have responded positively to ensure Scottish shops can remain open for business on Ne’er Day if they so choose.

“This is good news for shoppers, for retailers, and for our hard-pressed retail destinations.

“There was never any clear evidence that a permanent trading ban was proportional – the onus should remain on individual firms to decide what the best approach for the business is depending on customer demand and availability of colleagues.

“This is a welcome fillip for the industry at a time when it is under immense pressure. 

“With shopper footfall down by a fifth, the vacancy rate at a six year high, and sales stuck in the doldrums it was essential the Scottish Government clearly demonstrated it was on the side of business.”

Liz Cameron, chief executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce said:  “The Scottish Chambers of Commerce network opposed these plans from the outset and businesses across Scotland will be extremely relieved to see that plans to ban them from trading on New Year’s Day will now been abandoned.”

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