Longer Sunday opening hours would herald a new era of personal freedom, consumer choice and lower prices
Open Sundays, the grassroots campaign group established in 2014 to campaign for greater liberalisation of the Sunday trading laws, has called upon the next government to abolish the current Sunday trading laws and to allow larger shops to open 24/7.
Mark Allatt, co-founder of the Open Sundays campaign said:
“These changes would herald a new era of personal freedom, consumer choice and lower prices – and would be a vote-winner for any party promising to abolish these archaic laws. People living in England and Wales should have the same freedom to go shopping at times of the day on a Sunday that the Scots already take for granted. These simple reforms would also help the high street catch up with online retail. It is bizarre that you can currently take delivery of your online shopping at 9am on a Sunday but you cannot visit a store to buy the same goods.”
Recent research by Open Sundays showed that shoppers pay significantly more for the same products in small format stores compared to the larger supermarkets, prompting calls for larger supermarkets to be given the same opening hours as smaller stores.
It was proposed in the July 2015 Budget that the Sunday trading laws in England and Wales might be relaxed and shops over 280 m2 (3,000 sq ft) be able to open longer. However, this proposal was defeated in the House of Commons following a rebellion by some Conservative MPs in alliance with the Scottish National Party, despite Sunday trading being legal in Scotland for shops of all sizes.
Mark Allatt added:
“It is now the norm for adults in most families to be in full time work so the only time they can shop is at the weekend. Restricting Sunday opening makes no sense and it is time that the out-of-touch MPs recognised that society has changed massively from the 1990s never mind the 1950s. The current Sunday trading laws do not preserve any valuable cultural aspects of our way of life. They just make life more inconvenient. If you want to go out early on a Sunday morning looking for a wide range of fresh produce to cook for a family Sunday lunch, you cannot. If you want to go to church on a Sunday morning, there is even less time to get the shopping done.”