The Mayor of London has been banging on about the capital being a 24-hour city ever since he came into power in 2016. But how 24-hour is London actually? According to one Liberal Democrat member of the London Assembly, the Big Smoke still has a long way to go. And, tbh, we agree.
Sadiq Khan has said he wants to relax the rules on Sunday trading in London, helping the capital on its way to becoming a true 24-hour city. The Mayor said he would support a trial of later Sunday opening hours in some parts of London such as the West End. This could mean that pubs and shops would be allowed to stay open longer, meaning your Sunday sesh could be able to roll through all the way to Monday morning.
During Mayor’s Question Time at City Hall, Bokhari said: ‘The traditional high street model is struggling […] In 2017 you published your vision for London as a 24-hour city which includes increasing opening hours, not just for pubs and clubs but for museums and cultural venues.
‘But the strict rules on Sunday trading has been holding London back for years, and in 2016, the Government showed willingness to devolve those powers relating to Sunday trading. However, this has not happened and prevents London from being a global 24-hour city.’
Khan responded saying he didn’t support the scrapping of all Sunday trading hours. He said: ‘I support working with those parts of London where it would make sense. So, Westminster is a good example, and Knightsbridge.’
He added: ‘I think there is some of that attitude in relation to Sunday opening hours to be relaxed. We’re working with Business London and others in relation to what changes we can make.’
But he also warned that ‘there is a challenge in relation to work life-balance’, as a change could require some members of staff to work seven days a week. He said we could start with relaxing restrictions in the West End ‘with the right safeguards’ and ‘see how it works’. Following that, City Hall could ‘see what they can do elsewhere’ in the city.
Time Out’s take
We’re big advocates for London becoming a proper 24-hour city, and it’s something we’ve explored before. Not that long ago, we looked into why London nightlife started closing so early. So we say, long live the late licence!
Listen to Time Out’s brilliant new podcast ‘Love Thy Neighbourhood’: episode ten with Derren Brown in Hoxton is out now.
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