Council to decide on extending Belfast's Sunday trading hours
Belfast councillors will today decide whether or not to recommend extending Sunday trading hours in the city.
Belfast City Council's Strategic Policy and Resources Committee will consider designating Belfast a "holiday resort", which would allow large shops to extend their trading hours on 18 Sundays each year.
Not everyone is agreed on giving the plans the green light, however. Shop workers' trade union Usdaw and independent retailers' organisation Retail NI have written a joint letter to City Hall stating that, if approved, the extension of Sunday trading hours would be "detrimental to retail workers, their families, independent retailers and the wider community".
Alliance councillor Kate Nicholl said the findings of a recent consultation show the public is in favour of the plan and shop workers will not be "compelled" to work on a Sunday.
"We cannot allow the opportunity to modernise Belfast city centre to pass. To do so would cost jobs, make regeneration more difficult and fail to open the city up to outside investment opportunities. We need an outcome which delivers for all the people of Belfast," she said.
The proposals were previously rejected by the SDLP, Sinn Fein and the DUP.