Suspending the Sunday Trading Act

March 20, 2012, 3:22 PM UTC

35% say Sunday Trading laws should be abolished permanently; 31% support temporary change

Britons are split over the lifting of the Sunday Trade Act; whether it should be a temporary or permanent change, or whether it should be lifted at all. Just over a third of Britons say the laws should be permanently abolished, our poll shows.

Under the Sunday Trading Act 1994, shops bigger than 3,000 square feet in England and Wales can only trade for six hours on Sundays. 

  • 35% say the Sunday trading laws should be permanently abolished
  • 31% say the Sunday trading laws should be temporarily suspended during the Olympic and Paralympic games
  • 27% say the Sunday trading laws should not be suspended during the Olympic and Paralympic games

The government is planning to temporarily suspend this legislation over the course of the Olympic and Paralympic Games this year so that those attending the Games can easily shop around sporting events, and subsequently help to invigorate the British economy.

A permanent change?

The measure, expected to be unveiled by Chancellor George Osborne in his budget, is attracting criticism from various groups, including retailers and the Church of England, who fear that the temporary lifting of the current restrictions will become permanent.

A Church of England spokesman said: "It is understandable that special arrangements will be made in various ways as the country hosts the Olympics and Paralympics… [We] would however strongly oppose any further attempts to erode the special nature of Sunday," he said.

General Secretary John Hannett has pointed out that a consultation on this matter last year showed there was no widespread support from either retailers or the general public.

"Deregulation would have a very detrimental impact on the lives of millions of shop workers," said Hannett. "Shop workers are entitled for their views to be heard before any decisions of this importance are made."

See the full results and details here