The National Association of Master Bakers (NA) has welcomed a government decision that Sunday trading legislation is to remain unchanged.

Last week’s announcement from Trade and Industry Secretary Alistair Darling followed a review of the legislation, which has been in place for the past 10 years. This restricts stores over 3,000sq ft in size from opening for more than six hours on a Sunday.

Darling said: “With the Sunday trading laws having been in place for many years, it was important that we looked at whether they were still appropriate. We received nearly 1,000 responses to the consultation from consumers, religious groups, employees and business, with no substantial demand for change.”

NA chief executive David Smith said: “This is quite amazing – not so much the decision as the timing of the decision. We expected the Sunday trading issue to be put on hold after the Competition Commission started investigating the grocery market in March.” He added: “Another reason you would have expected a delay is that there has been a recent change of Minister at the Department of Trade and Industry.”

The Sunday Trading Act 1994 – permitted Sunday trading hours:

Small shops (up to 280sq m/3,000sq ft) – no restrictions on opening.

Large shops (over 280sq m/3,000sq ft) – Opening for six continual hours only between 10am and 6pm.

Easter Sunday – closed

Note: the Act applies to shops in England and Wales; there are no restrictions on Sunday shopping hours in Scotland.