Housing and Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick has said shops can stay open longer, urging councils to waive rules restricting hours.
Currently, retail shops have to apply under the town and country planning act to extend their hours beyond 9am to 7pm Monday to Saturday, a process which can take weeks.
In seeking to help retail and some 125,000 jobs, the government has allowed non-essential shops to reopen from Wednesday after a month of a second-national lockdown.
Mr Jenrick revealed that shops should be able to stay open for 24 hours if they wish throughout both December and January, with next month being ‘the most important December ever for retailers’.
Writing in The Daily Telegraph, Mr Jenrick said: “With these changes local shops can open longer, ensuring more pleasant and safer shopping with less pressure on public transport.
“How long will be a matter of choice for the shopkeepers and at the discretion of the council.
“But I suggest we offer these hard pressed entrepreneurs and businesses the greatest possible flexibility this festive season.
“Therefore as Local Government Secretary I am relaxing planning restrictions and issuing an unambiguous request to councils to allow businesses to welcome us into their glowing stores late into the evening and beyond if wish.”
He added that flexible deliveries will ‘keep the streets free for the rest of us’ and that stores can ‘replenish their shelves whenever they want’.
Brits are being told to support retail by going on a ‘shopping splurge’ over Christmas.
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, told The Mirror: “While reopening offers a lifeline for many shops, it will be the public who have the final say.
“Thankfully, Christmas is the perfect reason to shop, knowing that every purchase we make is a retailer helped and a job supported.”
She added: “High streets, shopping centres and retail parks have all seen footfall nose-dive during lockdown, with closed shops estimated to have lost around £2billion per week in lost sales.”
Andrew Goodacre, head of the British Independent Retailers Association, said: “This is the most important December ever for retailers and the high streets throughout the UK.
“We need customers to return to the shops and enjoy a traditional Christmas shopping experience and support the local community at the same time”.
Jenrick went on to add that he will be slashing regulations for British shopkeepers, adding: “Today I am… announcing a temporary relaxation in shop opening hours this Christmas and through January, asking councils to allow extended hours for shoppers on every high street Monday to Saturday.
“None of us I suspect enjoy navigating the crowds.
“And none would relish that when social distancing is so important to controlling the virus in the final furlong before the vaccine rollout commences.”
Aldi launches new ‘bargain hour’ where prices are slashed by 75%
All 912 Aldi stores across the UK will take part in the scheme
Aldi has announced it’s introducing a special ‘bargain hour’, where shoppers will be able to save 75% on certain goods.
Aldi customers will be able to grab a proper bargain on things like bread, meat and fruit, the supermarket confirmed.
All 912 Aldi stores across the UK will take part in the scheme, marking down perishable products such as fruit, vegetables and meat on their last day of life, just before stores close.
The retailer is doing this to stop fresh produce from going to waste, and it’s part of their wider pledge to halve food waste by 2030.
While at the moment Aldi does reduce the price on certain products when they reach their best-before or use-by dates, it will now be offering bigger savings on products marked with a red sticker.
Julie Ashfield, Managing Director of Buying at Aldi, said: “Aldi is already known for its low prices, but these discounts will help some shoppers to cut their grocery bills even further – all while helping us reduce food waste.
“Customers should look out for the red stickers when shopping at Aldi, but shoppers need to be quick as I’m sure the products will prove popular.”
It’s worth remembering that items will be reduced at different times at different stores, and of course reduced produce is sold on a first-come, first-served basis.
Meanwhile, Aldi has teamed up with Marcus Rashford to launch a brand new campaign to help feed hungry kids across the UK.
Marcus has been busy over the past year, highlighting the shocking food inequalities in our country and holding the government to account, and he’s been doing a fantastic job.
And while one in five children in the UK currently live in food poverty, the Man United star – who experienced food poverty when he was a kid – won’t stop on his mission to help end this tragedy.
To help tackle the issue of child food poverty, Aldi has confirmed that it will donate 10 million meals to feed families in need across the UK during 2021.
The supermarket has also released a short animation that personifies ‘hunger’ through a child’s eyes, to mark the collaboration with Marcus, with the footballer narrating the emotional poem that accompanies the short film.
The video explores a young kid’s relationship with hunger, using a poem by Giles Andreae, with illustrator Lisa Stickley bringing the story to life via the animation.
MP calls for teachers to be given the vaccine next so schools can reopen
He’s called on Matt Hancock to give teachers increased priority
An MP has called for teachers to be given the Covid-19 vaccine so kids can get back to school.
Richard Graham MP is asking Matt Hancock to vaccinate teachers, following the news that Education Secretary Gavin Williamson can’t guarantee schools will reopen after the February half term as was originally planned.
Mr Graham said vaccination was the only way forward, confirming that he has asked the government to make sure teachers are included in the next round of vaccinations, once the 13 million most vulnerable have had their jabs.
He told GloucestershireLive: “If we want to give teachers, parents, pupils, families real certainty on schools, I think there’s only one way to do it, to vaccinate all the teachers.
“That way schools will know their staff will not have to go off and self-isolate, and are not going to catch the virus.
“Parents will also know their pupils are not going to be either infected by teachers or infect them.
“That would be a huge step forward. It doesn’t rule out all the risks. Pupils can still spread it amongst themselves and then back to their parents at home.”
A teacher from Derbyshire has created a petition asking for teachers, school and childcare staff to be prioritised for the coronavirus vaccine.
Charlotte Appleyard’s petition has already gained more than 470,000 signatures, which meant it was discussed in parliament on Monday.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s emotional message to Marcus Rashford as he’s honoured for his charity work
The footballer was honoured at the Football Writers’ Association annual tribute awards
Marcus Rashford has been in the news a lot over the past year for his valiant efforts in fighting child food poverty in the UK.
The Manchester United star has now been honoured again for his efforts, becoming the youngest person ever to receive an award at the Football Writers’ Association annual tribute awards.
Sir Alex Ferguson sent the 23-year-old an emotional message after he was honoured in recognition of his hard work tackling child poverty during the Covid-19 crisis, praising the ‘wonderful person’ he had become.
Marcus has been busy highlighting the shocking food inequalities in our country and holding the government to account, and he’s been doing a fantastic job.
And while one in five children in the UK currently live in food poverty, the striker – who experienced food poverty when he was a kid – won’t stop on his mission to help end this tragedy.
The footballer campaigned for free school meals to be extended during holidays, and more recently has raised awareness of the ‘woefully inadequate’ meal parcels some families have been receiving this week.
Marcus has been working with charity FareShare to help deliver food to hungry kids who are no longer getting free school meals, and yesterday it was reported that he’d teamed up with Aldi to donate 10 million meals to families in need.
Sir Alex said: “I would like to congratulate Marcus on his achievement and presentation (of the FWA Tribute Award) tonight.
“I have known him since being a kid of 7 years of age, and seen him develop through the ranks of Manchester United into a truly wonderful person.
“Apart from his football life, what he has achieved in the last few months is quite astonishing, how he has helped the people in need is a truly amazing achievement.
“I would like to congratulate him on that. He has shown to young people in particular there is a different way of dealing with life.
“He has shown great humility, he has shown courage to do what he did, so this achievement is well deserved and should be recognised with what he has done.
“So Marcus, well done on a fantastic achievement.”
Marcus responded by thanking the legendary United manager, saying: “He has always, from the beginning really, backed me with what I am doing.
“Probably when other people in sports were telling me not to do it and just focus on football, he said if I believed in that, and I believe it is the right thing to do, then he is behind it.
“Those words from him are an amazing feeling to hear that.”