It’s time to abolish Sunday Trading restrictions in England

! This post hasn't been updated in over a year. A lot can change in a year including my opinion and the amount of naughty words I use. There's a good chance that there's something in what's written below that someone will find objectionable. That's fine, if I tried to please everybody all of the time then I'd be a Lib Dem (remember them?) and I'm certainly not one of those. The point is, I'm not the kind of person to try and alter history in case I said something in the past that someone can use against me in the future but just remember that the person I was then isn't the person I am now nor the person I'll be in a year's time.
Pope Benedict XVI

God says it’s a sin to buy medicine on a Sunday

Embarrassed at the thought of the world mocking the way we pander to medieval superstitious beliefs by banning shops from opening all day on Sunday in the name of a religion that only 10% of the population actively engage in, the British government relaxed Sunday Trading laws in England and Wales during the London Olympics.  Now the debate is open on whether to tighten them back up again.

The last serious attempt to get Sunday Trading laws relaxed in England was back in 2006 when a group of companies, including the big supermarkets, petitioned the Secretary of State for Trade & Industry to relax them so they could open for more than 6 hours on a Sunday.  The Secretary of State declined.  The Secretary of State had no business making the decision because the Secretary of State was Alistair Darling, the MP for Edinburgh Central, whose own constituents don’t have to put up with the inconvenience of Sunday Trading restrictions because there aren’t any in Scotland.

Scotland is by far a more religious country than England yet they are sensible enough to realise that translating those minority religious views into restrictions on economic activity benefits nobody.  It’s a shame that the politicians they inflict on us don’t share that same sensibility but when they’re messing up someone else’s country, I suppose they don’t really care.  But if Scotland can dispense with Sunday Trading restrictions despite being a more religious country than England, why should we endure these ridiculous restrictions because of the irrational beliefs of a declining number of adherents of the state religion?

The economy is on the rocks at the moment and anything that can give it a boost should be welcomed.  We need drastic tax cuts and people spending money to create jobs.  The drastic tax cuts aren’t going to come under Labour or the Tories because all either of them know how to do is spend more and more of our money but abolishing Sunday Trading restrictions is just about compatible with today’s Tories, even if they have all but abandoned their conservative principles.

On average, those of us who still have jobs are working longer hours to pay for those that don’t, bailing out the €uro, Indian space missions, etc. so we have to do more things at the weekend.  If we want to do our weekly shopping at 9pm on Sunday then why shouldn’t we be able to?  If we need a pharmacy at 3 o’clock on Sunday morning, why should we have to drive 30 miles to find one of the increasingly small number of independent pharmacies that haven’t been snapped up by big chains that don’t have to comply with Sunday Trading restrictions?  Why can we go for a bagel at McDonalds at 8 o’clock on Sunday morning but can’t go to Tesco’s and buy a packet of bagels to make our own?  This ridiculous rule about observing the Jewish religious law of observing the Sabbath has no place in England in 2012 and it’s time to consign Sunday Trading restrictions to the history books they came out of.


  1. pkmcr (1 comments) says:

    God help us if a couple of hours shopping on Sunday is supposed to boost the economy.

  2. axel (1214 comments) says:

    i wouldn’t say we are ‘more religous’, maybe we have more people who do religion but we tend to leave them to it

  3. Ðave (21 comments) says:

    I used to like the old Sundays. They were quiet days spent with family where everything moved slower and was the better for it.

    Nowadays Sunday is rapidly becoming just another day of the week with people shopping rather than spending time together.

    I certainly will not increase my weekly shopping if the Sunday trading hours are increased and I suspect the vast majority of people will feel the same. The extra opening hours will only benefit big supermarket chains which can afford to stay open the longer. Small retailers, most of whom don’t open on a Sunday anyway, unable due to narrow profit margins to open longer hours will suffer most.

  4. JakeC (1 comments) says:

    If I want to spend time with my family I do it when I please. I don’t need a special day set aside thank you very much. If I’m out at juniors race day on a Saturday, and the missus is out with the in-laws on the very same day then why should I not have the opportunity to get my shopping in at 10am Sunday morning. Religion is not my gig, it’s a bag of donkeys. You want to hang out in church, super fine by me, but if I decide I need to pop down the local Jumbo-mart then that should be my decision. When I get back at noon I can have some quality time doing whatever it is I want.

    It’s an embarrassment that this still goes on in this day and age.

  5. Ðave (21 comments) says:

    I ain’t especially religious but the main thrust of my argument is that tinkering with the Sunday opening laws will only benefit big supermarket/retail chains and make Sunday even more like another day of the week. There will be no more economic activity generated by this, merely a spreadout of what would be spent anyway.

    Poor bloody shop workers in the big chains would be forced to work longer hours at the weekend and have less time with their families. If the missus works in a supermarket and draws a weekend shift you’ll only see her after the shop shuts. If you’re working a normal week you’ll only see her on an evening.

    • AK (2 comments) says:

      I usually work Sundays, and I too am against it. If we abolish restrictions, then we’ve essentially abolished weekends.
      The current system works fine, it’s nice to have towns wind down to a slower pace for a day and the economic benefits of opening longer aren’t really there.
      The retailer I work for opens on Sundays, it also opens at 8 in the morning during the week and stays open till late in the evening. We barely see customers before half 9 and trade drops off in the evening after 5, running costs (wages, electricity, etc) almost always exceed income during such parts of the day – this is during the week. Now imagine being open for the same hours on a Sunday, it would be much the same. Businesses other than retail would probably not bother at all.

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