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The Government have said that the Sunday trading laws, that restrict the hours larger shops can open, will be relaxed this summer during the Olympics. The law will not apply for eight weekends from Sunday 22nd July. They say that they want the world to think that Britain is ‘open for business’. This is good news. The better news is that this move is being seen as a test for the possible scrapping of the Sunday trading laws.

Opponents say that Sunday is special, a day of rest, and a religious day, when only Churches should be open.

Both arguments have merit. What weakens the argument for keeping Sunday trading laws, which have not been changed since 1994, is that we already live in a 24/7 world. Most people have to work on a Sunday, and not just restricted hours. Radio presenters, TV News channels, journalists, pilots, bus and train drivers, weather forecasters, cleaners, vehicle recovery, garages, hotel staff, pubs, clubs, restaurants, flowers sellers (I’m writing this on Mother’s Day), and of course the emergency services, nurses, doctors, firemen, coastguards and the police.

On a Sunday, large shops can only open for a maximum of six hours, which is why they close at midnight on Saturday. This means that the shops are very busy for this short space of time, the roads networks have large amounts of traffic on them, and the whole Sunday shopping experience is more stressful. We should be able to open all shops 24/7, only closing for Christmas Day and Easter Sunday. This would not prevent anyone who wants to go to church on Sunday from doing so. It would not prevent those who want to have a day of rest from doing so, it would not prevent those who regard the seventh day as Holy from continuing to observe that belief. It would make it easier for us all to live in a 24/7 World.

Interesting that in Spain, a more religious and more family orientated country than ours, almost everything is closed on Sunday. That works for them, they know they can not shop on Sunday, so they shop in advance, and spend Sunday with their families. In the U.K., I think 24/7 shop opening is the way to go. So let’s keep it if it works, and it will work, provided no one is forced to work against their beliefs on a Sunday.

Now the next thing is to try is to move the clocks forward one hour and be on the same time as Europe. Those few farmers in Scotland have had it their way for far too long.