2:29  |  16 September 11
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Chamber of Debate

SUNDAY TRADING - a day of rest?

1994: SUNDAY TRADING LEGALISED

Thousands of shops throughout England and Wales have opened legally today for the first time following a change in the Sunday trading laws.

The new law is not expected to herald a large increase in the number of stores open on a Sunday as many had broken the old law for years.

Action which was due to be taken against some under the 1950 Shops Act is now likely to be abandoned.

Only three major chains will today open branches for the first time ever - department stores Marks and Spencer and House of Fraser and supermarket Waitrose.

Both Marks and Spencer and Waitrose had opposed Sunday opening.

Under the new Sunday Trading Act, all stores in England and Wales are free to trade in all goods on Sundays.

Small shops - those under 280 square metres - can open all day.

Bigger shops are restricted to six hours of business between the hours of 1000 to 1800.

And, under a concession granted to appease anti-Sunday opening groups, they will not be allowed to trade on Easter Sunday or Christmas Day when that falls on a Sunday.

PROTECTION FOR EMPLOYEES

But some large businesses such as pharmacies and motorway service areas will be exempted from the restrictions as are restaurants, hairdressers and other premises providing services.

Shops breaking the new law face a fine of up to £50,000.

The Act also provides protection from dismissal for employees who do not want to work on Sundays.

The shop workers' union, Usdaw, has said, if necessary, it will vigorously defend its members' rights at industrial tribunals.

The Keep Sunday Special Campaign remains as opposed as ever to the new law.

A spokesman said Sunday trading would lead to an "erosion of family life".

SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION:

Is frenetic Mammonic Consumerism bad us AND the environment?
Vote: Should Sunday be made special again and should we return to the old Sunday trading laws?

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Members Comments

greymatter 23-Jun-2008 21:2
Forget religion. There is too little time for families to be together. Apart from those keeping the essential services going Sunday should be a time for everyone to spend with friends and family. Perhaps we would have less social unrest if people 'bonded' more.
06gforty 12-Mar-2008 17:6
rubbish. its no different to any other day. keep religion out of it
SarahD 24-Jan-2008 12:16
Yes, although I enjoy shopping, there has to be days when the shops are closed - days when there is not huge traffic jams around shopping outlets!!
Anselm 22-Dec-2007 20:4
Sunday should be a day of rest. If it continues this way, it means that things like church/sport/etc cannot take the forefront, as well as spending time with family/friends.

Sunday should be a special day, a day off from the bustle of everyday life.
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