New Year's Day trading for large retailers: consultation

Large retail businesses are currently able to open on New Year’s Day. 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.

Annex C – Islands Community Impact Assessment

New Year's Day Trading Consultation - Island Communities Impact Assessment – Initial scoping Template

Title of Policy, Strategy or service

Consultation on New Year's Day Trading for large retailers

Policy - New or revision


Directorate: Economic Development Directorate

Division: Retail Division

Team: Retail Policy Team

Lead Official

Paula Cassells


Minister for Public Finance, Planning and Community Wealth

Islands (Scotland) Act 2018: -

An ICIA must be prepared in relation to a policy, strategy, or service, which, is likely to have an effect on an island community which is significantly different from its effect on other communities (including other island communities).

1 Define the Policy

Purpose and intended effect:

The Scottish Government has agreed to hold a consultation on New Year's Day trading for large retail businesses. The consultation will include seeking the views of retail organisations, trade unions, retailers and employees on whether large stores should be closed by law from trading on New Year's Day, as they currently are on Christmas Day.

Legislative Background:

The Christmas Day and New Year's Day Trading (Scotland) Act 2007[10] prohibits large shops from opening for the purpose of retail trading on Christmas day and confers power on Scottish Ministers to prohibit such shops opening on New Year's day.

The Act does this by:

  • Making it a criminal offence for a large shop to open for the purpose of making retail sales on Christmas day.
  • Conferring power on the Scottish Ministers to make it a criminal offence, by order to be approved by the Parliament, for a large shop to open for the purpose of making retail sales on New Year's day, following a consultation, the making of a report on the economic impact and impact on family life on large stores opening on New Year's Day, and the submission of a statement of reasons to the Parliament
  • Defining a large shop as one with a trading floor area exceeding 280 square metres.
  • Exempting specified trades or businesses and shops at specified places
  • Defining who commits the offence and providing a due diligence defence.[11]

2 Understand the Situation

1. Is there potentially an effect on an island Community, Demographics, Economic, Social?

There may be an impact on island communities if an Order was made under the Act. Depending on the location, the closing of large stores on New Year's Day where there is no alternative small store nearby could result in restrictions in accessing essential goods on that day.

2. If Yes, would can be done to mitigate for this?

Mitigations could be in ensuring the intended closure is widely promoted amongst island communities so that consumers are able to plan ahead, as they do for Christmas Day.

3. Data and Identify Stakeholders

1. What data is available about the current situation in the islands?

The numbers of shops that are greater than 280 square metres and therefore affected by any change in legislation is not known. However there is some data on the numbers of wholesale retail businesses in rural areas.

The majority of retail businesses operating in Scotland are micro and small businesses. It is estimated, based on the Inter-Departmental Business Register 2020 and 2019 Business Register and Employment Survey that there are 13,790 business units in the retail sector in Scotland, employing directly 233,000 people. Table 1 below shows a Scotland-level disaggregation of characteristics of areas of the retail sector that may be affected by the measures discussed including estimates of employment, number of businesses and business sites and number of premises.

Table 1: Breakdown of the Scottish retail sector
Sector Employment (2019) Number of Registered Businesses (2020) Number of Registered Business Sites (2019)
SIC 47 Retail Trade, except of motor vehicles and motorcycles 233,000 13,790 22,340

Source: Business Register and Employment Survey; Businesses in Scotland, NDR roll.

Sector Number of Registered Businesses Small Registered Businesses (<49 employees) Medium-Sized Registered Businesses (50-<249 employees) Large Registered Businesses (250+ employees)
SIC 47 Retail Trade, except of motor vehicles and motorcycles 13,790 13,230 245 310

Source: Businesses in Scotland 2020.

The number of registered wholesale, retail and repair businesses in Scotland, their total Scottish employment and turnover by urban/rural classification

Number of businesses Total Scottish employment Total Scottish turnover (£m)
Large Urban Areas 8,945 141,060 28,738
Other Urban Areas 8,265 146,130 28,625
Accessible Small Towns 1,990 19,620 3,344
Remote Small Towns 1,335 15,440 2,544
Accessible Rural 2,965 26,230 5,340
Remote Rural 1,940 12,340 1,881

Source: Business in Scotland 2020

Retail businesses with a rateable value above £51,000 tends to be concentrated in cities. Those local authorities that have island communities within their boundaries are highlighted in bold in the table below.

Business Units
% Rateable Value above £51000 % Rateable Value equal of below £51000
Aberdeen City 15% 85%
Aberdeenshire 5% 95%
Angus 3% 97%
Argyll and Bute 3% 97%
Clackmannanshire 5% 95%
Dumfries and Galloway 5% 95%
Dundee City 11% 89%
East Ayrshire 4% 96%
East Dunbartonshire 7% 93%
East Lothian 5% 95%
East Renfrewshire 4% 96%
City of Edinburgh 13% 87%
Na h-Eileanan Siar 1% 99%
Falkirk 6% 94%
Fife 6% 94%
Glasgow City 10% 90%
Highland 8% 92%
Inverclyde 5% 95%
Midlothian 10% 90%
Moray 6% 94%
North Ayrshire 5% 95%
North Lanarkshire 6% 94%
Orkney Islands 3% 97%
Perth and Kinross 6% 94%
Renfrewshire 11% 89%
Scottish Borders 4% 96%
Shetland Islands 2% 98%
South Ayrshire 6% 94%
South Lanarkshire 8% 92%
Stirling 10% 90%
West Dunbartonshire 9% 91%
West Lothian 13% 87%

Source: OCEA

2. Are there any data gaps, how will these gaps be filled?

The exact numbers of retailers and employers that may be affected is not known, but each of the local authorities highlighted will be directly consulted.

3. Appropriate Stakeholders and Island communities to consult with

The consultation is open to all retailers and shop workers and will be promoted widely including by asking national business organisations to promote through their internal channels.



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