Do Brits back dropping Sunday trading laws?

Connor IbbetsonData Journalist
June 23, 2020, 1:45 PM UTC

Despite the Government dropping plans to scrap restrictive Sunday trading laws, most Brits think shops should stay open all week

Boris Johnson has been considering temporarily dropping Sunday trading laws to help retailers get back on their feet following the lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. The law, dating back to 1994, currently limits the opening hours of larger retails stores, while allowing smaller stores to remain open as normal.

While the Prime Minister’s plans may be torpedoed by a number of Conservative MP’s who have come out against the idea, the public is still in favour of relaxing the laws. Half of adults (51%) support easing rules, while only three in ten (30%) are opposed to changing the law. Another 18% of the general population are undecided.

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Among voters, Brits who voted for the Conservatives in the general election last year are actually slightly more likely to support changes to the law (55%) compared to 53% of Liberal Democrat voters, and half (50%) of Labour voters.

Before the 1994 law was introduced, shops were required to keep their doors closed to respect the Christian day of rest – but is Sunday trading still an issue for the Christian churches? Half (50%) of Brits who belong to the Church of England, the biggest Christian group in the UK, are in favour of removing time limits on retail shops for the coming year, and 50% of Presbyterians say the same.

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Support for temporarily reliving the limits is lower among some of the smaller Christian churches in the UK. Among Roman Catholics support drops to 47%, for example.

Notably, Methodists are split 41% in favour and 40% opposed on the issue, and Baptists are more likely to be opposed to the change with only 37% supporting while 45% oppose a temporary change to the law.

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