The Balearic government was ordered to stop ignoring the wishes and needs of the general public yesterday as the debate over new commercial laws restricting opening times for shops developed into an argument. The President of the Majorcan Association of Industrial Unions (Asima), Ramon Seijo, yesterday slammed the proposed introduction of a Balearic commercial law, which will conflict directly with the new law introduced in Spain, as “restrictive and a bid to take control” and he threw his support behind the complete liberalisation of the commercial sector. The President of Asima stressed “the consumer should have the biggest say in this, but is being completely ignored.” It appears that the government's obsession with small shopkeepers and the battle against hypermarkets, which are becoming increasingly popular as they have across Europe, has meant that the local government has failed to account for traders on industrial estates and according to Asime, they will be the ones most effected by a new law restricting opening hours. The Association favours traders being able to open whenever they want, which will enable shopkeepers to work their day around the demands of the consumer. For example, during rush hour periods, when traffic on industrial estates reaches its peak and in the case of Palma is made worse by roadworks along the Buñola road, consumers are making a concerted effort to shop in between rush hour periods.

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