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Should shops be allowed to stay open longer on Sundays?

11:33 09 March 2016

Shops have to close earlier on Sundays than the rest of the week at the moment.

Shops have to close earlier on Sundays than the rest of the week at the moment.

(C) 2007 Pixland

Conservative council leaders have rallied behind the Chancellor as he seeks to win support for the controversial changes to Sunday trading laws.

A number of East Anglian council and Conservative group leaders have put their name to a joint letter to minister Brandon Lewis backing his plan to give them the power to let shops open for longer.

George Osborne faces a major Tory rebellion over plans to relax Sunday trading laws in England and Wales.

Dozens of Conservative backbenchers are expected to oppose the change and reports suggested the Prime Minister could face the prospect of ministers resigning in order to join the revolt.

In Ipswich there is already a divide over the proposals.

The chancellor announced plans to shake-up Sunday trading laws in his first Budget after being returned to office last year, but faces a potential defeat over the plans just a week before his next set-piece financial statement.

The Government has a slender working majority of 17 so is vulnerable to any rebellion if opposition MPs unite against it.

Labour’s leadership has urged the SNP not to back the plans to relax Sunday shopping laws, and they said last night they would not be backing the government.

Jeremy Corbyn and Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale penned a joint letter calling on First Minister and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon to rule out her 54 MPs supporting the move at the weekend.

Under the Government’s plans, contained in Business Secretary Sajid Javid’s Enterprise Bill, local authorities would be given the power to extend Sunday opening hours.

But Tory David Burrowes is spearheading an attempt to remove the measure from the Bill, which will be debated by MPs today.

Graham Butland, Braintree council leader, David Finch Essex County Council leader, John Fuller, South Norfolk council leader, Derrick Haley, Mid Suffolk council leader, Jennie Jenkins, Babergh council leader, Colin Noble, Suffolk County Council leader, James Palmer, East Cambridgeshire council leader, Lord Porter of Spalding, leader of South Holland council and Andrew Proctor, leader of Broadland District Council, all put their name to the letter which said: “As Leaders of our local communities we want the Government to put its trust into councils. We are best placed to make decisions about Sunday trading. However, to make those decisions in the best interests of our communities it is absolutely vital that these devolved powers come with flexibility including the ability for councils to zone their Sunday trading so that we can give consideration to a wide range of factors including our local economic circumstances.

“Therefore, we would urge you to continue with proposals to localise these decisions and help us deliver what is best for our local communities,” they said.

But Mr Burrows said: “Government should recognise the strength of opposition for a plan that was not in our manifesto and should at least agree a compromise which restricts deregulation to tourist zones.”


  • Shops are now fighting for their very existence. The rise in internet shopping will probably wipe out the High Street within the next 20-30 years and we will be left mainly with Charity Shops and Food outlets. A few local 'convenience stores' will probably remain as well. I can, and do, shop on the internet in the UK and many other places worldwide at any time of the day or night on any day of the year and have the goods delivered to my door within a day or two. The restrictions on Sunday trading are a farce. The objectors need to wake up to reality. There are many people who would jump at the chance to work on Sundays and as long as it is not compulsory it's not a problem. Many public service workers, such as I was, work 247365 so what is different about shops which are a service industry?

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    Norfolk Lad

    Thursday, March 10, 2016

  • there are a lot of people out there that sunday working suits, for example mums with young children who are unable to work during the week due to partners being at work.

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    Wednesday, March 9, 2016

  • No no no everyone I work with is against these plans apart from my employer who wants to open as long as possible and the fact most employees don't get extra pay now on a Sunday either one of the reason why some staff work on a Sunday which will put them off

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    Martin P

    Wednesday, March 9, 2016

  • I agree Hereandthere. In this modern world we all demand a 247 lifestyle - if this is what we want then the 7 days a week shopping needs to fit into it. Being non religious I don't see this as a factor in the argument. Special family time is more important but this can continue if you wish - nobody forces you to go shopping. . As for shop workers? well you don't work in a 9-5 industry so will have to accommodate demand just like the millions of staff that do work weekends, Nurses, Emergency services, TV and radio presenters and all the other professions we take for granted.

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    Wednesday, March 9, 2016

  • At the moment, anyone with an internet connection and a debit or credit card can shop 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, if they wish. Folk not meeting those criteria can shop 'in the real world', 24 hours a day Monday - Saturday and 6 hours on a Sunday. Sunday is different for people working in shops not because it's a 'sabbath' day but because traditionally working on a Sunday traditionally pays double time. As soon as Sunday has been turned into just-another-day, employers will be able to cut these extra payments, making shop workers worse off. You can see why the Tories are loving the idea- employers get to cut their costs at the expense of their employee's pay! The ground has already been laid - the following is from the "This is Money" website, article dated January 16th this year - "Staff at Tesco will be told next week that pay rates for working Sundays and Bank Holidays, late nights and overtime hours are set to be slashed as the supermarket giant seeks to cut costs, 'This is Money' has learned from a source. It is believed employees at the retailer used to receiving double time for Sundays and Bank Holidays will be told on Tuesday that they will get just time and a half from July - a pay cut of 25 per cent.

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    Wednesday, March 9, 2016

  • Why should the shop at the end of my road be allowed to open from 8am-10pmand a supermarket would be taken to court if they opened the same hours.The law needs to be the same for all,either let them open when they want or go back to the days when the only shops open were newsagents and off licences

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    old boy

    Wednesday, March 9, 2016

  • Why should the shop at the end of my road be allowed to open from 8am-10pmand a supermarket would be taken to court if they opened the same hours.The law needs to be the same for all,either let them open when they want or go back to the days when the only shops open were newsagents and off licences

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    old boy

    Wednesday, March 9, 2016

  • Before I start I am not a shop worker. I do not think shops should be allowed to stay open longer on a Sunday. There are ample shopping hours Mon-Sat, so no justification for extra hours on a Sunday. Let shop workers spend some time doing what they want in the free time they have on a Sunday

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    Wednesday, March 9, 2016

  • If big stores are allowed to open longer on Sundays then staff will just be spread thinner - enjoy playing hunt the (stressed) staff .......

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    Sparky 45

    Wednesday, March 9, 2016

  • What I would like to see is a harmonisation of opening hours on a Sunday. I have been to places where the doors open from anything between 9.30am and 11am by shops next door to each other. We live in a twenty four seven society but our shops on a Sunday seem to be stuck in a time warp all of their own.

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    Wednesday, March 9, 2016

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

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