SHOP workers’ trade union Usdaw has welcomed a unanimous decision to back a petition to end New Year’s Day trading in large stores.

The Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee agreed to write to stakeholders within the retail industry and to urge the Scottish Government to conduct a consultation.

Usdaw launched a petition last year calling on the Scottish Government to launch a consultation on implementing legislation already in place to ban most large shops from opening on New Year’s Day.

The union said the Christmas Day and New Year’s Day Trading Act (Scotland) Act 2007 prohibits trading in most large shops on Christmas Day and gave powers to the Scottish Government to stop the opening of those shops on the latter as well. However, this has never been enacted.

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An Usdaw survey of more than 1000 Scottish retail staff found that 98% felt that stores should be shut on New Year’s Day. Three-quarters feel they spend too little time with friends and family over New Year and only 4% are happy to work on New Year’s Day or January 2.

Tracy Gilbert, Usdaw’s Scottish deputy divisional officer said: “We thank the petitions committee for its unanimous support and decision to progress our petition. As Jackie Baillie MSP pointed out, the First Minister agreed to look at Usdaw’s campaign, but that was back in January and the Scottish Government is now saying it’s not the right time to do this.

“It’s been 13 years since the original legislation was passed, so it is difficult to understand when the Government thinks it would be the right time. The strength of feeling among our members is clearly shown by our survey and by more than 3000 of them writing to their MSPs asking for support.

“Scottish ministers may, by statutory instrument, ban large shops from opening on New Year’s Day, subject to consultation. On behalf of Scotland’s retail workers, we urge the Scottish Government to open that consultation and for MSPs to listen to shopworkers’ concerns.”