Consultation Document Part 1
Purpose of the consultation
Since 2007, large shops have by law not been able to open on Christmas Day to make retail sales under the Christmas and New Year's Day (Trading) (Scotland) Act 2007. Whilst the law did not apply to shops that opened on New Year's Day, it did give Scottish Ministers the ability to make an Order that would do that at a future date.
This consultation is being held to seek the views of shop workers, retail businesses and others on whether the current law should change so that large retail businesses must close on New Year's Day, as they currently do on Christmas Day.
Why we are consulting
In January 2020, a petition was put before the Scottish Parliament by the trade union Usdaw. The petition asked the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to launch a consultation on implementing legislation to ban large shops from opening on New Year's Day.
Shortly after the petition was lodged, the retail sector was facing significant challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With retailers working on maintaining the supply of food and other essential items and no clear end to the pandemic in sight, the Scottish Government wrote to the Parliament's Public Petitions Committee in April 2020 to confirm its view that it was not the right time to hold a consultation.
However, with the country moving towards recovery, the easing of restrictions and the progress being made through the vaccination programme, the Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills again wrote to the Public Petitions Committee on 24 March 2021 and set out his intention to take forward a consultation on New Year's Day Trading this year.