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Should we scrap Sunday trading laws?

Should we scrap Sunday trading laws?

Matthew Biggerstaff


Reading time: two minutes

Sunday trading laws in the UK currently state that large shops may only be open for six consecutive hours between 10:00am and 6:00pm, but is this law outdated?

Sunday trading hours have been in place in England since the 1930s, signifying the Christian idea of Sunday being a day of rest. However, as the UK moves away from being a ‘Christian country’, does this need to change?

In the latest census, ‘no religion’ was the highest ranked religious orientation, knocking Christianity off from the top spot for the first time. Young British people are moving away from religion, with 50% of people in their twenties having stated that they’re atheist. The statistic for this age group has risen over 13% in the last decade.

Following these findings, many campaigners have urged the government to rethink how the country uses religion when creating or amending laws, such as the Sunday trading laws. Sunday trading was allowed in Scotland in 2003, following the Sunday Working Act. This change has had a positive impact on the Scottish economy and the GDP of Scotland grew – in part due to this legislative change.

There’s a concern that retail workers will have to work more hours if shops can open on Sundays. However, this change could also help to create more jobs, such as weekend contracts for those seeking part-time work. This would be a positive change as part-time work is often extremely hard to find, especially for young people with little to no experience.

As someone who’s worked in retail, there’s certainly room for more jobs. Changing the trading laws may allow for further job opportunities and greater economic growth. Creating more work and trading opportunities is surely an obvious positive amendment to the law, in a time where many are looking for jobs and the economy is attempting to recover.

The UK is certainly developing into a vastly cultured society and, arguably, our laws and customs should display that. Many people within the UK view Sunday trading laws as outdated, even those who are religious. Therefore, I believe that a modern amendment could aid the country, and its economy.