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MP Ben Gummer says longer Sunday trading hours would allow Ipswich’s retail areas to ‘blossom’

07:02 07 March 2016

Shopping on the Cornhill in Ipswich town centre.

Shopping on the Cornhill in Ipswich town centre.

Proposals to extend Sunday shopping hours have won the support of Ipswich’s MP and cautious backing from the chief executive of Ipswich Central – but shoppers aren’t so sure.

Changes to Sunday trading laws, which could see stores open from 9am-7pm, are up for debate in Parliament tomorrow.

MPs could vote to give the power to local authorities to decide what Sunday opening hours should be.

But the people of Ipswich remained sceptical yesterday about the town’s appetite for Sunday shopping – and retail workers fear they will spend less time with family if stores choose to extend their hours.

“I really feel, especially on Mother’s Day, that people should not have to be working on a Sunday unless they want to,” said Sunday shopper Diane, who was in town with her partner Russell Haughan.

“I know they won’t be forced to, but sometimes bigger retailers have schemes that employees feel trapped in. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen in Ipswich.”

But her husband, who ran his own company for several years, disagreed with her.

“It’s a modern thing now to have shops open for longer. I think retailers need to adapt,” he said.

The town’s MP Ben Gummer shares a similar view. He said extended opening hours would allow the town’s “shopping districts to blossom”, and could “seriously increase tourism and investment.”

But added: “However, businesses must realise that if this is passed they don’t have to change their hours unless that is prescribed in Ipswich Borough’s proposal.”

The proposals were announced during a recent consultation on Sunday trading laws, where the Government’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) announced plans to devolve the powers to district and borough councils.

MPs will debate the issue tomorrow, when the Enterprise Bill gets its third reading in the Commons.

Ipswich shopkeeper Rajesh Menon fears the proposals could be “damaging” to independent retail workers.

“As a shopworker, I am very concerned about how this will affect all the staff in retail and our families,” he said. “Longer Sunday opening will mean we have to work more Sundays, leaving us even less time to spend with family and friends who work in the week, or children who are at school.”

But Ipswich Central’s chief executive Paul Clement said it is “inevitable” that some shops will open longer in a modern society, and that tourists “would benefit” from the plans. But he too raised concerns about the welfare of shopworkers.

“We have to be mindful, though, that these laws may not get passed, and if they do, not all retailers have to comply with the guidelines.”

Ipswich Borough Council leader David Ellesmere will chair a consultation on Sunday trading if the Bill is passed.

He said: “I can assure you I will not be taking this decision on my own and there will be a full consultation. It’s all about balancing workers’ needs with consumer interests.”

38 comments

  • I just love (not) the way that all comments, on everything, split between those of "I wantdon't want" and those that tell us what other people should want or should not want. Do any of us ever stop to think of anyone else at all? Not from this evidence. There are quite a few people in our society who never get any human contact except what they find in the shops, and in some cases it gives them the warmth too that they cannot afford at home. Keep them out of sight and out of mind. Because of course they're not like us and less than human, whilst we huddle playing happy families. Not. Don't let the uncomfortable real world intrude on our dreamlike reverie. Get Real.

    Report this comment

    smurf

    Friday, March 11, 2016

  • Well Tory boy Gummer and all of you Tory toffs you have lost this debate, and I for one am glad, putting money before family life is nothing more than pure greed, now's here's hoping you lose in regards of the Drs strike and also the way you are treating the sick and disabled of this country!

    Report this comment

    clowe

    Thursday, March 10, 2016

  • Last nights vote in Parliament has put an end to this idea.

    Report this comment

    The original Victor Meldrew

    Thursday, March 10, 2016

  • Deeber...Yes, much like us..old school, try and do that as much as possible.

    Report this comment

    waspie

    Tuesday, March 8, 2016

  • Agree entirely. Let's have at least one day a week of peace and quiet. A question tho for Ben Gummer: will you be running regular surgeries on Sundays, then?

    Report this comment

    Andrew Eastern

    Tuesday, March 8, 2016

  • I actually meant the run up to Christmas ..definitely not the day... sorry waspie.. We like Sundays to be for the family and we regularly have a Sunday roast and catch up on things ...old school in our house .

    Report this comment

    deeber

    Tuesday, March 8, 2016

  • I agree with Citizen, Sully A and Chantry....and Deeber except for Christmas hours..surely we can wait to spend Christmas money and gift cards until after Boxing day.

    Report this comment

    waspie

    Tuesday, March 8, 2016

  • I want the freedom to choose to pop in to town, or perhaps a supermarket or garden centre early on a Sunday morning, perhaps before a swim or a coffee, and there are no shortage of students and others waiting to serve in exchange for a grateful £7.20 per hour (from next month.) We're only talking one or two more hours either side of existing opening hours. Times change, we don't all want to slouch at home after a roast and a game of monopoly.

    Report this comment

    Ipswichite

    Tuesday, March 8, 2016

  • HAVE READ ALL THE COMMENNTS AND IT SEEMS NOT MUCH LOVE LOST FOR BEM BEN GUMMER. NOT WILL WE SEE UNITY UNION SAME AS JUNIOR DOCTORS CALLING STRIKES FOR SHOP WORKERS WHO DOM'T WANT TO WORK ALL WEEKEND! RED FACE FOR BEN HELF MINISTER EH? SUNDAY IS NOT A FULL ON SHOPPING DAY , A FEW CONVENIENCE STORES OK FOR THOSE "RUN OUT ITEMS FOR DINNERTEA! I LOOK FORWARD TO BENS OFFICE BEING OPEN ON SUNDAY AFTERNOON SO PEOPLE CAN CALL IN TO SEE HIM WITH PROBLEMS.

    Report this comment

    skyhawk

    Tuesday, March 8, 2016

  • Nice to see the three key members of the Ipswich vision group Gummer,Clement and Ellsmere all with different views again,! ...Simple rule with this is supply and demand , if like at christmas there is a demand for it ,then Extend the opening hours ..but not all year round , surely that will need extra buses possibly the Park & ride etc which is struggling now..I dont see Ipswich at that level yet. If it does get through the houses of commons then I doubt there will ever be a need for it in Ipswich for some years, So no changes needed during this tough times which are really dragging on now Mr Gummer.

    Report this comment

    deeber

    Tuesday, March 8, 2016

  • Only the big stores can probably afford the resources to open for more hours on a Sunday and if the truth is known the "inner circle" running this town are not bothered about the smaller shop keeper. If Ben Gummer wants Ipswich retail trade to "blossom" then why is there no emphasis on the derelict and run down streets of our town centre ? Would anyone want to open a shop in our tired town centre when you see a £3 million investment on a new Cornhill plaza. When IBC prefer to waste £10 million + on a derelict sugar beet factory in Babergh District. When Ipswich gets its parks get millions before the town centre. Then wonder why shop keepers and shoppers walked away ?

    Report this comment

    chantry

    Monday, March 7, 2016

  • The discussion should be about refurbishing and block paving the town centre streets.

    Report this comment

    chantry

    Monday, March 7, 2016

  • Ipswich shops could be open 247 and I still wouldn't shop in the town. Norwich has much better shopping so that would be my choice IF I shopped anywhere on Sunday other than online

    Report this comment

    lesleyfrances

    Monday, March 7, 2016

  • And another thing, those poor souls that currently wait around until 15.45 to get the cut price out of date bread will now have to hang around for another 3 hours. Is this an attack on their human rights?

    Report this comment

    how'd the town do

    Monday, March 7, 2016

  • What a total load of nonsense. Someone would have to be desparate, insane or both to want to shop in Ipswich at 7pm on a freezing cold and wet Sunday evening. As the expression goes, they really do need to get a life. If this were to happen and even if shops pay minimum wages only, all prices would go up because the overhead costs of each shop would go up with only a minimum extra income coming in from sales. Have shops not learned anything from opening 24 hours a day which largely has been a flop and mostly they are returning to close at 10pm.

    Report this comment

    how'd the town do

    Monday, March 7, 2016

  • Is this what we pay tax for.."In Spain" some have Sunday off to watch bulls being murdered. All part of family life . We are not in Spain so why compare us. Apart from freedom of choice some shop workers would welcome the chance to earn some extra cash.

    Report this comment

    easylec

    Monday, March 7, 2016

  • Scrap Sunday Opening altogether. Let people enjoy a day off from the tread mill. Very easy to do nowadays, more and more people do shopping online. Anyhow what has the public's opinion got to do with anything...those with the say like the MP and councillors will just do what they want anyway....and that will be making the decision to earn the biggest bucks.....coz money is god nowadays.

    Report this comment

    Scuzzer

    Monday, March 7, 2016

  • Yes, I have occasionally used my local co-op which employs local people and without local support it would close down completely - not everyone has access to a car and the buses don't run on a Sunday - I simply wouldn't drive into Ipswich on a Sunday evening to peruse around the shops. But it's nice to see that suddenly we have people that want to shop in Ipswich!!

    Report this comment

    SullyA

    Monday, March 7, 2016

  • Yes, I have occasionally used my local co-op which employs local people - I simply wouldn't drive into Ipswich on a Sunday evening to peruse around the shops. But it's nice to see that suddenly we have people that want to shop in Ipswich!!

    Report this comment

    SullyA

    Monday, March 7, 2016

  • @SullyA you admit to using a COOP that's open 7am-10pm but you don't like the idea of other shops opening longer? @pandy online shopping doesn't deliver your food instantly, and your views of European shops not opening on Sunday is outdated and inaccurate. Who are you to tell people when they can or cannot work?

    Report this comment

    Ipswichite

    Monday, March 7, 2016

  • @SullyA you admit to using a COOP that's open 7am-10pm but you don't like the idea of other shops opening longer?

    Report this comment

    Ipswichite

    Monday, March 7, 2016

  • An extension to Sunday trading hours is long overdue. Plenty of people already work on Sundays, so why would an extension to hours erode more of the fantasy of 'family day.' Some people that that moan about Keeping Sunday Special are the same people I see filling up pub car parks and their bellies on a Sunday with a nice roast. Who cooks and serves you?

    Report this comment

    Ipswichite

    Monday, March 7, 2016

  • Isn't there enough time duringt he whole week and our current Sundayt trading hours for people? Gummer backs everything partywise,from staying chained to the EU to bombing Syria...

    Report this comment

    Lawrence Hare

    Monday, March 7, 2016

  • Well we do have a nut case among us don't we ,shops open to 8pm ,longer Sunday opening,just think buses stop running to most villages by 7pm no buses on Sunday's , most shop workers on low wages can't afford a car or high parking charges in town ,shops abroad usually close for 2 to 3 hours for lunch , and with most shops now being hit by the minimum wage increase there will be no more staff being taken on only the same staff being spread out affecting busy times, if people can't shop in the hours that are now available then go on line plus remember in most countries shops don't open Sunday's only in tourist areas do you find them,

    Report this comment

    pandy

    Monday, March 7, 2016

  • They tried to tell us the world would end when football started to be played on a Sunday. 'The end is nigh' proclaimed the boards. Has it? They used to play on Christmas Day! May we all be struck down! Times change, hard for some I know, and you do have the choice NOT to indulge. FYI, I have to work some Sunday's.

    Report this comment

    Mike Derruki

    Monday, March 7, 2016

  • I agree Citizen, the larger stores do not need to extend their hours on a Sunday - is nothing sacred anymore? Extra hours means retail workers will be expected to work longer at the expense of their family lives and for minimum wage - it's a joke! I live in out in the sticks but our local co-op is open from 7 til 10 every day if I run out of bread or milk but that's all. The last thing I would be thinking about on a Sunday evening would be a spot of retail therapy. I despair at the shops at Christmastime too - who in their right mind needs to spend Boxing Day shopping?

    Report this comment

    SullyA

    Monday, March 7, 2016

  • How did we cope before shops opened on Sundays? How did we cope before some supermarkets were open 24hrs? How did we cope before shops were open on Bank Holidays? We planned ahead and bought in enough to see us through from when the shops closed at 6pm on Saturday until they opened again at 9am Monday. I don't remember stories of mass starvation on Sundays with people roaming the streets begging for food.

    Report this comment

    Citizen

    Monday, March 7, 2016

  • Does seem an awful amount of extra trouble just to squeeze in a few extra hours, what is it now 10 to 4 pm on a Sunday ?I suspect these changes are more to do with the tory party donors rather than what the public require, best left as is in my opinion and let's have family life back on the agenda.

    Report this comment

    Macke

    Monday, March 7, 2016

  • @ Mike Derruki - so exactly what hours do YOU work, and are YOU being forced to work on Sundays?? If not, would YOU want to have to do it? Also, if you truly wanted to "get in the 21st century" you'd be shopping online - provided you're really that sad and desperate for a 247 retail fix. But don't begrudge low-paid shop employees, who have no choice but to accept the working hours set by their employers, what little family time they currently get.

    Report this comment

    blue&white

    Monday, March 7, 2016

  • Good idea, people work week days like to shop on Sunday's. Shops should be open till 8pm during the week anyway, normal abroad, so all this 'special family time' rubbish goes out the window. You all enjoy it when your on your hols, none of you say 'poor peeps, working till 8. Get in the 21st century! What next, half day closing on Wednesdays to come back? A siesta might be nice though......

    Report this comment

    Mike Derruki

    Monday, March 7, 2016

  • The whole retail proposition is not the single issue of Sunday trading but the impact on trade, finance and the workforce. Being open longer doesn't produce any more trade overall but may redistribute what trade there is so trade could migrate from shop to shop, sector to sector (town centre, out of town, online etc.) and will affect employment hours (split shifts, zero hour contracts etc.) but is unlikely to increase employee pay. Sunday is no longer a special day for everyone who lives here. Whatever the outcome there will be winners and losers but while we now seem to have a quick buck government there no longer seems to be any long term strategy over what sort of society we aim to preserve.

    Report this comment

    amsterdam81

    Monday, March 7, 2016

  • Sunday should be family day, in Spain Sunday is a day where families play together ,go for a meal together ,all shops are closed. Ben Gummer is a Tory , money money ,money ,don't care that people have to work 7days a week for just keeping their bills paid. Also he is a health minister,agreeing with Jeremy hunt destroying the NHS, and making junior doctors pay and conditions worse .where do he stand on this, for the people that voted for him?

    Report this comment

    this is what we pay tax for

    Monday, March 7, 2016

  • Typical greedy little toryboy,does he not realize what this could do to family life, the one thing the Tories go on about,always the same with them MONEY!,I bet he doesn't work at the weekend, we will all be working 247 and until you drop

    Report this comment

    clowe

    Monday, March 7, 2016

  • Ben gummer is such a deluded fool. He Litterally does exactly what George Osbourne and Cameron do, and has no ideas of his own. This strategy is wrong, unnecessary and counterproductive. Ben gummer doesn't work for a living, he sponges off the tax payor and buys and rents houses with our public money. He like many other MP's need putting out to pasture.

    Report this comment

    Johnie Redwood

    Monday, March 7, 2016

  • Well of course they want longer hours. It would net the government more money from taxes and such. It's not needed though. Shops are open long enough as it is and it's nice that there's a period of time where you can just relax and not have someone wanting to go shopping or something.

    Report this comment

    Chris Church

    Monday, March 7, 2016

  • Longer hours are not necessary, and would increase costs . Also reduce the quality of family life, i would rather shops did not open at all on sundays

    Report this comment

    oracle

    Monday, March 7, 2016

  • People only have so much money to spend,I doubt opening longer on Sundays will make any difference.

    Report this comment

    Tony G

    Monday, March 7, 2016

  • Perhaps this prat would like to work all the hours under the sun for £6.70 a hour not anything like what he gets plus expenses, does he work Sunday's I recon NO , so if he is so much for the shop workers working these days do the same or shut up .

    Report this comment

    pandy

    Monday, March 7, 2016

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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