CAMPAIGNERS have said that they are confident that the
suspension of Sunday-trading laws for the Olympics will "lapse"
once the Games have ended.
Earlier this year, the Government introduced emergency
legislation to relax Sunday-trading laws for the duration of the
Olympics and Paralympics (
News, 23 March). The legislation, which received Royal Assent
on 1 May, has allowed large shops to open all day, instead of for
six continuous hours, during the Olympics.
In recent weeks, some commentators have suggested that the
restrictions on Sunday-trading laws should be lifted permanently
once the Olympics have ended. Writing on the website Conservative
Home on Sunday, the blogger Alex Deane said that the temporary
suspension of the laws should be "used as a spur to reconsider our
restrictive, antiquated trading laws".
On Monday of last week, in an editorial for the financial
newspaper City A.M., distributed free in London, the
paper's editor, Allister Heath, wrote that allowing "permanently
consenting adults to shop freely on Sundays" would be "a good and
easy way for the Coalition to show that Britain is open for
Mr Heath said that "Christians who insist that Sunday must
remain special should remember that in the US, that most religious
of Western societies, shops have always been open on Sunday."
But the Keep Sunday Special Campaign said in a statement on
Tuesday of last week that it believed that its opposition to the
emergency legislation "was successful in ensuring that the Bill
will lapse after the Games", and had put "a strong marker down
about the extent of opposition to any further deregulation".
The statement continued: "David Cameron came into Government
promising to make this country the 'most family-friendly in
Europe'. But over one million families have at least one parent
working on both weekend days, meaning they have little time to
spend with their children at a time when they are not at
The general secretary of USDAW, the shop-workers' union, John
Hannett, said that the union expected the Government "to abide by
its commitment that this summer's tem- porary suspension will not
lead to any further attempts to extend Sunday opening hours. The
Government failed to make a coherent business case for the
suspension, and there is no evidence that it will boost the economy
In a poll of 999 adults, published by Ipsos MORI on Monday, 52
per cent of respondents were opposed, and 36 per cent were in
favour, of relaxing the Sunday trading laws permanently.
Respondents aged between 15 and 24, however, were more enthusiastic
about a relaxation of the Sunday-trading laws: 50 per cent were in
favour, and 35 per cent were against.
There was less enthusiasm among older people: 28 per cent aged
between 55 and 64, and 21 per cent over the age of 65, favoured a
permanent relaxation of the laws.
The associate director of marketing at Ipsos MORI, Sasha Birkin,
said that the younger generation "have spent most of their shopping
lives post the 1994 Sunday Trading introduction, and have grown up
accustomed to unrestricted trading hours on other days of the week.
The research shows that the younger generation of shoppers are less
conservative than their parents and less attached to the idea of
keeping Sunday special."
Question of the Week: Should the suspension of
Sunday-trading restrictions continue after the