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I'm sure the ASI is right when it says there has been a big increase in employment etc. although I suspect China is the biggest beneficiary, the other big increase, very big increase, is in consumer debt brought about by people's ability to shop at these "convenient" times.

I /like/ being able to shop on sundays. I /don't like/ being pushed out of shops early, because of some antiquated tradition in a religion I don't believe. For me it really is that simple. There is no sensible reason to treat Sunday differently from Saturday.

Ah, yes. The Conservative party who believe in a small state and letting people make their own choices.

To be honest, I'd prefer some level deregulation. Sunday is about the only day I get away from the computer and everything seems a rush in the day to get everything in on time.

It could also be said to be against Conservative principles of freedom. Perhaps I'm looking at it in a selfish way, without considering work life balance.

One person's freedom to shop is another person's requirement to work.

This is good news for small shops and for the consumers they serve

Conversely it's bad news for those who rely on supermarkets and their low prices, and who are now denied the freedom to shop in them when they need to on a Sunday. Nice one, Nanny State.

Hmmmmm - as someone who works for a retailer I have to say I am pleased I don't have to work on a Sunday.

True Editor. It's one of those where you can make a good argument either way.

One person's freedom to shop is another person's requirement to work.

Denying people the freedom to shop also denies other people the freedom to work.

The current laws are an unnecessary market distortion that aid internet shops - open 24 hours - versus physical shops? The Conservative response is disappointing - and maybe harks back to the 80s when even Mrs T had trouble persuading backbench Tory MPs to support Sunday trading.

I suspect many shopworkers would view this as a good result. The argument about removing the right of some people to work isn't wholly true - as if Sunday was treated as a normal working day retailers would undoubtedly have removed the extra pay for working Sundays - and therefore workers would not be any better off for giving up their weekend.

Could be wrong though.

The internet argument isnt wholly accurate either. You can get a good from the high street on a Sunday in the 6 hours of trading. You can't get it from the Internet there and then.

James Hellyer: "Denying people the freedom to shop also denies other people the freedom to work."

Unfortunately I fear that some people are only taken on now if they express a willingness to work on Sundays. People who need a job only get it if they are willing to accept working on Sundays - to the cost of their ability to spend time with their children.

Yes we're the party of the market economy but we're also the party of the family and both have to make space for each other.

To be honest, I think the Conservative Party is looking at this idea of working on a Sunday in the wrong way. We’re supposed to be the party of small government which gives people greater freedom and choice in their lives, not the nanny state.

If we allowed people to work on a Sunday, it would open up a whole range of possibilities. In essence, it would give greater flexibility in regards to the working week and one’s work-life balance – rather than having Sunday off, they could choose another day which may suit them more. Not everyone wants to have Sunday off, while new couples with young children may find it beneficial to not work on different days to ease with looking after their children.

The idea that longer working hours on a Sunday would destroy the work-life balance and family life is completely unfounded.

Hopeless. If Sunday shopping is wrong, will you introduce restrictions in Scotland (where the moronic Darling can shop to his heart's content on a Sabbath)? Big vote winner North of the Border, I'd have thought.

You guys are so utterly disconnected with real life. I give up.

To me the over-riding argument should be that we are the party of less regulation. We believe in the state interfering less and giving people the freedom to choose.

Some will argue that those needing a job cannot afford to choose. My answer would be that they must weigh up their need to find work with their desire for time off on Sundays. Nobody said life should be easy.

The fact that many Conservatives see good arguments on both sides just shows how easily our commitment to low regulation can be put aside.

It seems as though all parties are now virtually free of principles, and simply treat each issue as it comes, balancing the views of focus groups with those of their party colleagues.

To me the over-riding argument concerns another angle entirely ,thus :

What on earth does Darling , MP in the British parliament for a Scottish constituency

( for which he has no responsibility or democratic control as such matters in Scotland are in the province of the Scottish parliament only- an example of existing two tierism in the British parliament)

mean by poking his interfering snout in English affairs . Regardless of whether his intentions are good , bad or indifferent , no MP for a Scottish constituency should have aqny say whatsoever on the internal governance of England .

I have to say that whilst I've been at university I've regularly gone into town to go shopping on a Sunday. However that was always relatively easy to do with the shops being just a 5/10 minutes drive away. Now that I’m back home it can take over 40 minutes sometimes to get to Barnstaple, and what with the restricted hours, it really isn’t practical to go shopping on Sundays anymore. This is a shame as often or not during the rest of the week I don’t have the time to go out. Needless to say I would have preferred if Sunday Trading regulations were relaxed; as I am sure many others would too.

It is a pity, in my opinion, that the Party has continued to support restricted hours – we are supposed to be the party of a smaller state and a free market. Restricting trading hours goes against both these principles.

Why isn't Sunday trading - or any times of trading - left to local Councils? If trading hours are likely to severely impact on nearby housing, protests could be made and if the councillors make an unpopular decision, they can be voted out. Conversely, if the extension of trading hours is overwhelming popular, then that's what happens. It's called local democracy I believe. Why on earth is it a matter for central Government?

How many of you who are for extended Sunday trading work on a weekend? Does that mean shops should open on Xmas day just so you can go and buy something? How about all retailers opening 24hrs a day?

Fancy having deliveries at 4am not just on a weekday? Happy to have that if you live in a flat above a superstore?

What if I want to see a lawyer at a weekend? My doctor? Get a decent train timetable? No chance. But because you may want to wander round Tescos for more than 6 hours you are up in arms. Come on!!!

Interestingly not all retailers wanted the laws relaxing.

Not sure what the argument about it taking longer to get to the shops has anything to do with Sunday trading??

Some of you probably work for banks - I dont see many of you open outside business hours let alone on a Sunday.

Those of you wanting unrestricted retailing are the same ones who will moan when Xmas merchandiding goes in store in September.

It's a matter of trust. Not just trust of the people who want to shop or work, but trust in people who DON'T want to work, to negotiate fair terms with employers.

I believe a lot of modern poverty, overwork, over-demanding employers derives from the crushing weight of taxes and other government costs. People are having to "run faster and faster just to stay in place". Shrink the state, and you'll be able to cut Sunday trading laws without harm, because workers will have the financial luxury to negotiate weekend breaks.

It's another instance of the new Conservative philosophy - social harm very often derives from over-control; with less intrusion, people will be able to construct a more natural, win/win arrangement.

Anon, I'd be very happy to see shops and services open 24/7 (and I may see it in my lifetime, Google "provigil" and be afraid ;-).

Well Julian - I'll put you down for the 3am shift every Sunday - and if you happened to say have just had a new baby, tough - you have to come to work. Sounds fun?

Anon, perhaps you didn't read my previous-but-one comment, about people who keep more of their earned income, having greater negotiating leverage to turn down dumb-ass orders like that one. Sure, I'll do the Sunday AM shift, and with provigil I wouldn't even be grouchy, but it'll cost you triple time and I want Wednesdays off instead.

You get how it works, now?

I get it - I work in retail my friend. Open up Sunday trading and you think they will offer more than they do now? No - it will be seen as an oridinary trading day.

Perks for working on Sunday now as its "special" will be removed.

One question I dont think has been answered is would de-regulation lead to an increasing dominance of the supermarkets in this whole area?

And actually, is that a good or bad thing?

In retail existing Sunday staff currently work a shorter day, with longer Sunday working hours this will be taken away – if opening hours are extended staff on a 10am-4pm contract are invariably going to be pressured to work newer extended hours. In principle, it’s an unnecessary intrusion of the state to legislate on Sunday opening hours but in this case I’m opposed because I can’t think of a decent reason to change the status quo. Tesco is open 24/7 in the week, all day Saturday and for 6 hours on a Sunday, we have the longest opening hours in Europe and anybody who is physically unable to get the stuff they need with the existing hours is a pretty bizarre individual. And while I am not a Christian I don’t see what’s wrong with having Sunday as a traditional day of rest, if we allow unlimited Sunday opening hours Sunday will become another Saturday and I don’t think that’s a good thing.

It is ok people rabbiting on about freedom of choice for people to shop when they like however I feel one of the biggest breakdown in Family Values was when we introduced legal Sunday trading. It was the one day where families could actually spend quality time together if they so wished. For the tens of thousands of people who work in retail and were enticed to get double time and a half for doing so (initially when Sunday trading became massively legal), that privelige has now been taken away and Sunday is treated as a normal (and normal paid) day - contracts in retail are now 5 over 7 days, with less time available for families to be together at least on one day in any week.
Stores now trade 24 hours a day, how much time do people want to shop? Keep Sunday sacred and not just on religious grounds.

Editor - you work on a Sunday - should the nanny state tell you which hours during the day you can work ? and limit your hours overall ?

You seem to be in favour for other people !

This is a smart position to take - it helps us demonstrate we are a friend to small business. Small business is a good iconic part of our party's voter (as opposed to activist) base. I think it's a far more effective way to demonstrate bona fides to the base than banging on about other things. Standing up for small business is always good politics. And good policy, of course.

Mark Prisk is right, this is good news for small businesses that are the life blood of local neighbourhoods. As a small but feisty business owner, competing with the muscle of the big boys is already a daily challenge!

However this move by the government is uncharacteristically helpful. The explosion in regulation during their tenure has put costs and pressures on my business that have done nothing to enhance the patient care that I deliver. Our freedoms are not enhanced by a free-for-all - and if we are serious as a Party about stronger communities, we have to consider the impact of legislation on the building block of neighbourhoods - families. Others are quite right - the pressures on low paid shop workers would increase - and it is their family life that would be weakened. I think that there are too many state sponsored pressures on the family already.

The retail sector employs 2.9 million people. That's a lot of people who may not want to work on a Sunday. (Although many of them may wish to)

However, there are also a further 30 million others in the UK workforce.

For those remaining 30 million people, Sunday shopping improves and enhances their family life by giving them more choice and control in their busy lives.

Politics is about making choices. (I'm sorry to offend the 'And' brigade on this site but you do need to make choices) Choosing to help the 30 million and their families rather than the 3 million seems like good politics and the morally right thing to do to support the family.

Extending shopping hours by 2 or 3 hours will enhance family life?? How? How many retailers were actually calling for the laws to be relaxed? If they arent all pushing for this - perhaps they realise the demand isnt there.

"the demand isnt there" - oh, rubbish. If you were in a shop at Sunday closing time, you'd see them shooing people out who'd prefer to continue to shop. I've worked nights in retail, and there's no hour of the day nor day of the week when people desert the store entirely, unless they're locked out.

Excellent - £1.5 billion of red tape is reaffirmed. Sad but totally predictable (and predictable that the Tories should support it too).

The DTI believe there isnt the demand. Many FTSE 100 retailers dont believe there is the demand, but one anecdote of "shooing people out" means there must be a demand.

I am one Conservative who is NOT delighted! I cherish the freedom to do what I want, when I want (increasingly under threat in this Nanny State) and shopping falls into that category. Sunday is not my sabbath anyway (and that holds true for many people). I actually agree with the person who commented that it might be a good idea to let local councils take responsibility. I know that this makes extra work for hard-working councillors, but it would be better for local politicians to deal with.

First, this was a Scottish Raj open goal that was missed.

Second, the Conservatives have damaged their small-state, deregulation credentials...

Oh dear.

I worked Sunday afternoon/evenings at a large-ish convenience store whilst I was at university and it never did me any harm - to be honest, I was grateful for having something to keep me occupied on what would otherwise have been typically dull Sundays!

(From what I can recall, Sundays after 4pm would be the period of highest turnover in any given week - the wonders of lack of competition...)

I have never understood the half-heartedness of restricted Sunday opening. It neither protects Sunday as a special day, nor guarantees shop workers a particular day off. It fells like a sop to the church at the expense of small government values.

The Labour/Tory convergence on a big state approach is becoming worrying as we are not being given a real choice.

I don't want a meddling state to dictate when stores can open.

How many Labour/Tories who support the restrictions will also be watching, listening to or reading the major media channels/newspapers etc on Sunday?

Shouldn't they be closed on Sunday so the small papers, radio stations etc can get a chance too? Bloody hypocrites!

"One person's freedom to shop is another person's requirement to work."

Wouldn't a simple shorter limit on weekly hours solve this? Then stores could stay open and people could maintain a healthy work life balance?

What would Alan Duncan have to say about a Trade & Industry secretary from a Scottish constituency determining the law for England & Wales when it is different in Scotland? Asymmetric devolution surely threatens the Union more than would an English parliament

I am interested in what people think with regards opening up the retail market. Do we as Conservatives want 24hr shopping? If we are deregulators in that, then whats our view on PPS 6?

Do we want to allow superstores to be built anywhere? It was our policy that lead to the construction of huge out of town centres which certainly not helped the high street? Is this something we should advocate even more? The situation we have now is many out of town monopolies where the supermarkets moved - and when planning restrictions brought in, no other competitors can compete in the same localised planning space?

Is deregulation always helpful?

Today's Daily Mail has welcomed the pledge:

"At last, a sign of common sense on Sunday trading. To the relief of millions who want to keep at least one day a week for rest, recreation and the family, Ministers drop plans to extend shop hours even further.

It certainly is a surprise. You might think a Government that so often rolls over to please powerful interests, from casino bosses to the drinks industry and GM conglomerates would give big stores such as Tesco exactly what they want.

So why this sudden sensivity to public opinion? It is to do with the fact that shopworkers' union Usdaw opposes Sunday 'liberalisation'? And gave Labour £1.4million in the last four years?"

In previous threads we’ve uncovered many examples where business requires regulation. But why should shopping hours be regulated - especially when the regulations apply to some shops but not others? Why are the families of a particular class of shop-worker singled-out for special protection that amounts to a likelihood that mummy or daddy can be home by 5pm on Sunday? It's limp.

Hi Jonathan,

But the question is why are small shops being given unfair preference over small companies in other sectors?

All small businesses suffer at the hands of the market leaders, but this lopsided 'populist' approach is hypocritical because it is being selective.

I'm most people here will be sitting down to watch the World Cup Final on a major media broadcaster on Sunday and wouldn't be happy if they were forced to close so your local tv station could have a chance with local items.

Why the favouritism for small shops and not small broadcatsers?

Is it unreasonable to enquire how many local members at a typical selection meeting are, in fact, small businesspersons?

This is rather disappointing, but not unexpected, considering Cameron's enthusiasm for micro-management and telling us what is good and bad in life.

Allowing for free trade and freedom of choice on a Sunday should be something we strive for.

Those who think that Sunday is a 'special' day are in for a big shock- I don't know of any retail company that trades on a Saturday and pays employees for Sunday work. The idea that Sundays are 'special' is a fallacy- why are they 'special' to the vast majority of the country?

I dispute the argument that employees would be 'worked to the bone' if Sundays were treated properly. I suspect that it would be smaller businesses that already have the right to unrestricted hours that have this practise already and is not something that larger businesses would engage in. Again, a fallacy on behalf of the unions, I reckon.

Sunday trading regulations also ensure a two-tier system for employees, essentially one where certain occupations are given the opportunity to maximise their earnings and others aren't.

As some sort of compromise, I'm sure deregulation could include some sort of qualifiers, such as non-waivable rights to decline Sunday work by employees.

My only other concern is that this could be some sort of sop to keep the Christian fringe of the party content with some sort of token bone. Personally, I think we should discard with religious influences- however irrelevent- and stick to common sense rational thought.

This should be for the market to decide, not the state which has far more important things to worry about as we all know.

It always makes me laugh when people talk about Sunday being a day of rest. I don't want it to be a day of rest, I want to be able to shop when I choose.

This is an over-reaction to the whole supermarket issue and its possible unfair practices. If they are uncovered then fine, the companies must be punished and remedies ordered, but don't prevent people from the freedom to choose when to shop in the meantime.

This would have been a perfect opportunity to reach out north of the border and clearly state that Scotland has a far better and fairer system and the Conservatives would be adopting their policy.

I realise this thread is nearly 3 months old, but I've only just found out about this decision, and frankly I'm hopping mad n(with all 3 parties)!

Why? Because I hope to go back into education as a (fairly) matue student in 12 months time, and working on a weekend to help pay for it was definately part of the game plan.

Not anymore it would seem! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.


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