Enjoying your Sunday so far? Are you relaxing and reading Forward! with a nice cuppa, waiting for The Andrew Marr Show to begin whilst looking forward to a blissful day ahead with the family? Beware, this could soon be coming to an end if the government gets its way!
I may sound like a delusional Corbynite, blaming the government for all the world's ills. Don't worry: I am not, but what I am is a Conservative, and that is why I do not agree with the proposed changes to Sunday trading laws, and you shouldn’t either.
The Government's proposed shake-up of trading laws is giving the responsibility to local authorities and city mayors. A sensible proposal you may say, but this brings about two key issues. First, the financial clout and influence of large retail parks and shopping centres will give them a lot more power in lobbying local government as opposed to that of of local independent retailers who will no doubt oppose changes. Second, it also will lead to a great deal of confusion for shoppers, with shops in different areas all around the country potentially having vastly different opening hours.
Furthermore, the benefits of extending Sunday hours are somewhat exaggerated, and could potentially have dire consequences for local independent retailers. Extended hours were piloted during the Olympic Games, and it was estimated by Oxford Economics that the convenience stores lost between £9.7 million and £26 million in sales. Conservative rebels, in a joint letter sent to the Daily Telegraph last week, said
“The latest estimates suggest that small shops would lose £870 million in sales, resulting in 3,720 job losses in the retail sector".
Even though there could be a net gain to the economy as a result of the reforms, we have to ask ourselves: at what cost? We must remember that true Conservatives are driven by more than just economics. We all agree that family is the backbone that holds society together, and that the family is one of the most important social institutions.
Finally, there is currently no appetite from the general public for changes to Sunday trading laws, as the majority of the public are happy with the current so called "great compromise" we have for Sunday trading, with polling by ComRes earlier in the year showing that more than 75% of the public support it. So let's keep Sundays special, keep it as a family day, as after all we are Conservatives.
Jesse has been an activist for the Conservative party since the 2010 general election, and interned in CCHQ in the run-up to the 2015 election. He now works in the retail industry after finishing college earlier this year.