From today the restrictions on shops opening on Sundays are ended until after the Olympics. This, the Government argues, will boost the income of retailers. But, as many small shops have pointed out, the only benefit will be to the large shops and supermarkets and this will be detrimental to the smaller business.We have been reassured that this is only a temporary relaxation but is this really true. The reassurances were made by George Osborne initially in the March budget but his record on changes to his budget proposals are well known.
THE BBC REPORTS “Under current legislation shops of more than 280 square metres (3,000 square feet) can open for a maximum of six hours on a Sunday, and only between the hours of 10:00 and 18:00.
A spokesman for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said larger shops would be "free to choose their opening hours on a Sunday" with "no restrictions on these hours" until the Olympics and Paralympics were over on 9 September.
Chancellor George Osborne said the move would help maximise the economic benefits of the Olympics”.
I believe this is the thin edge of the wedge. Retailers will assert that this “relaxation” has been a wonderful success and put pressure on a sympathetic Government to make this temporary change become permanent. When the restrictions on Sunday Trading were first lifted I warned about the effects and campaigned against them as, of course, did the Keep Sunday Special Campaign. Sadly, since those days, we have seen the nature of a Sunday as a day for the family, a day for attending church, radically change.
I read today an opinion which said that as we now live in a multi-cultural society, a society which has many different religions, the majority of which don’t regard Sunday as a day for religious observance, we should enable total abolition of Sunday Trading Law as soon as possible. It then said Britain is no longer a Christian country. WRONG! Britain is a Christian country which has welcomed members of differing faiths but has never rescinded its Christian heritage.