A proposal to require large shops to close on New Year's Day has been put out to consultation by the Scottish Government.

Under the Christmas and New Year's Day (Trading) (Scotland) Act 2007 large shops have been prevented from opening for retail sales on Christmas Day, to protect the rights of shop workers wising to spend time with families. The Act gave Scottish ministers the ability to make an order that would do the same for 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, as they currently do on Christmas Day.

In January 2020 the trade union Usdaw petitioned the Scottish Parliament to urge ministers to launch a consultation on implementing the New Year's Day ban. With the COVID-19 pandemic taking hold soon afterwards, the Scottish Government confirmed its view that it was not the right time to hold a consultation.

However, with restrictions easing, ministers are now seeking views on whether the ban should be app[lied from next New Year.

The Act applies to businesses with 280 square metres or more of floor space for customers, including that used for display purposes. Hospitality premises are exempt, as are pharmacies, motorway service areas, filling stations and premises in an airport or railway station.

Click here to access the consultation. The closing date for responses is 24 August 2021.