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Axe Sunday Trading Laws 23 December 2006

Posted by David in Uncategorized.

The excellent ConservativeHome is reporting on Sunday Trading Laws, especially as Christmas Eve this year lands on a Sunday.

ConservativeHome: Will tomorrow be special enough? 90% of respondents to a recent Theos-commissioned survey said they thought Christmas was too commercialised but there seems little, if anything, the government can do about it. Roger Gale MP – a strong supporter of the Keep Sunday Special campaign – has one way. He is urging a reassessment off the Sunday Trading Laws to account for Christmas Eve falling on Sundays: “The large stores may be prepared to bend the law to extend shopping hours by introducing browsing time and checking out time but that is simply based upon retail greed and flies in the face of the spirit of the law. We had to re-visit the Act to deal with the days when Christmas Day falls on a weekday and we will have to look again at how to plug what is clearly a loophole in the law.” It would certainly be a great thing if retail workers had more time with their families and friends on Christmas Eve, although it’d mean people like me will have to get a little bit more organised!

Bit I don’t think the government shouldn’t regulate shop opening hours for religious or any other reasons, as that is an individual matter for the shop owners and staff concerned. Whilst it would be nice for people to have more free time, especially at Christmas, I’m sure they also appreciate the money (or they wouldn’t do it) and it’s up to them to organise their own lives. Free choice must prevail. I’d also much rather have staff choosing to work Christmas Eve than have many thousands of disappointed children the next morning!

I accept staying shut Christmas Day, with convenience stores excepted. Other than that, Sunday Trading Laws should be axed. People can organise their own lives, spare time and working hours.

It’s very much like the Working Time Directive, an unnecessary intrution into free choice. We all want more spare time, but often choose the extra income as it can improve the quality of the remaining spare time. It becomes a matter of quality over quantity. Hours upon hours with family each week bored, or less time but doing more enjoyable things, quality time that builds lasting memories? I choose extra work but nicer holidays and days out.

Plus we all have better Sundays because of places being open, often places for families. Go to Pizza Hut, open Sundays now thanks to licensing liberalisation, and see people having quality time with their families. If it wasn’t open, most would be bored, doing different things in different rooms. And the staff seem fairly happy to be there too.

A far better idea would be to cut tax so we all didn’t need to work so much and had more disposable income!



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