Ask your MP to oppose any relaxation in Sunday trading
According to some media reports, the Government is considering the relaxation of Sunday trading laws as part of a series of measures to aid the economic recovery, following the coronavirus pandemic. The last time this was attempted was in 2016, when the Government was defeated by 317 - 286.
What’s the current law?
Under the Sunday Trading Act 1994, large stores and shops (280 sq m/3,000 sq ft) can open for six continuous hours between 10am and 6pm. They must also close on Easter Sunday. There are no restrictions for smaller shops.
Why does this matter?
This is not simply a religious or Christian issue. Some Christians are opposed to any form of work on a Sunday, while others take a different view. However, this is not a theological issue only.
Having some restrictions on a Sunday protects time off in common for families. The retail sector current employs approximately 2.7million people. The shifts can be very varied. Having protected time off, on Sunday morning and evening guarantees workers time with their families and children.
This benefits families, relationships, children and local communities.
Points to consider
Please consider emailing or writing to your MP about the suggestion that Sunday trading laws could be relaxed. It's best if you use your own words, but you may wish to consider the following points.
- Sunday trading restrictions are a compromise that works.
- Time-off in common benefits family life.
- Protecting Sunday is a good thing and recognises that we're more than just economic instruments.
- There is little evidence lifting the restrictions will make a big difference. In 2012, restrictions were lifted during the Olympic Games for eight consecutive weekends. According to statistics from the Office of National Statistics, retails sales fell by 0.2% during August 2012.
- You could point out that Oxford Economics have calculated there would be a net loss of 3,270 retail jobs as a result of changes to the law.
- Liberalising Sunday trading would fail the Government's 'family test'.
- Populus polling in January 2020 showed 60% support the existing restrictions, while only 20% oppose existing rules.
- Ask your MP to vote to protect the current restrictions, rather than liberalising them any further.