Osborne confirms Olympic Sunday trading shift

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Chancellor George Osborne has confirmed Sunday trading laws are to be relaxed during this summer’s Olympics.

Stores over 3,000 sq ft are currently only allowed to open for six hours on Sunday in England and Wales, but for eight weekends between July and September this would be relaxed, Osborne said.

“We’ve got the whole world coming to London and the rest of the country for the Olympics,” he told BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show.

“It would be a great shame - particularly when some of the big Olympic events are on Sunday - if the country had a closed for business sign on it.”

The move was immediately condemned by the Association of Convenience Stores.

“Sunday Trading is a popular compromise that affords everyone the opportunity to shop in large and small stores, but also maintains a sense of Sunday being an important and distinctive day in the week,” said ACS chief executive James Lowman.

“The government already looked at Sunday trading as part of their Red Tape Challenge and the response was overwhelmingly in favour of keeping the current regulations. If government makes this concession this time the big retail lobby will be pressing for all sorts of exemptions for other events during the year and the whole principle will be undermined.”

Readers' comments (5)

  • Let us hope that this is the beginning of the end of our antiquated Sunday shopping laws.
    What gives James Lowman the right to try and dictate to the people of Britain what they can and cannot do on a Sunday?
    Firstly it was The Church saying that we should "Keep Sunday Special" in an attempt to stem their dwindling congregations.
    Now it is Mr Lowman telling us that the restrictive shopping hours should remain because Sunday is an important and distinctive day of the week, when he clearly means that we should all be forced to use one of his members shops after 4.00pm.
    Sunday is important because it is the one day of the week when we can all spend our leisure time doing whatever we please and that Mr Lowman includes shopping at our favourite stores at a time that suits us!

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  • Anonymous

    I take it from your comment that you are not required to work on a Sunday.
    Those that work in retail have families too, would they not like to be at home....and even be able to watch the Olympics....
    Shopping is this countries hobby..how about spending time with family

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  • I totally agree with the anonymous comment. It is the very values of this country that are being diluted by openning up the Sunday trading laws. This and all governments have constantly suggested they will keep Sunday as a family day to grow the family values and the minute they get an excuse to relax and change it to suit the real controllers of the country ie the big supermarkets they relax the law. Perhaps Mr Green ought to consider the amount of hours that are going to be lost in the LOCAL community by the local workers by this government decision. Albeit he does not work Sundays either!

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  • I work in retail, I think people need to realise that the people who work in the big supermarkets use the time after 4pm on a Sunday for promotional activity meaning that the staff are still working till 9 or 10 pm on a sunday, changing opening times on a Sunday would result in these people working late into the night or even early morning to do this for the customers. We all have a life I'm sure in the 24 hours a day trading over the week everyone has time to do there shopoing. Stop being sad its a supermarket, find something else to do with your sad life and leave Sunday trading as it is. Shop workers are people too and in the current climate there jobs are probably more stressful than yours, stop complaining and twisting at prices its not the staff's fault look to the government to pun the blame, most of the problem comes from vat and fuel tax...rant over

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  • wow paul green! you wanna spend the a whole sunday shopping? do you not have a life or something?

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