MPs to vote this week on liberalising Sunday trading protections
The government is trying to use the Enterprise Bill to liberalise Sunday trading protections.
MPs will debate and vote on the proposals this week (Tuesday or Wednesday).
Please ask your MP to attend the debate and oppose the plans.
Given reports that the SNP may be wavering in its opposition to the plans, it's particularly important that SNP MPs hear from their constituents.
Contacting your MP
You can find out who your MP is and how to contact them by entering your postcode on this page. Please remember:
- Your message only needs to be brief. It's better to send something short than to send nothing at all!
- Don't forget to explain that you are a constituent and to include your address.
- The most important point is to ask your MP to oppose the plans for Sunday trading liberalisation contained in the Enterprise Bill.
- You don't need to make all the points listed below.
- If you can, please try to put your message in your own words and avoid simply cutting and pasting the points below.
- Please let us know about any response that you receive from your MP.
Points to make
You may wish to make some of the following points:
- God has built the principle of a shared day of rest into creation, for the benefit of all.
- Many family and community activities are easier when people have the same day off work.
- Some people will find it harder to attend a church service if more people have to work in shops on a Sunday.
- The poorest are likely to be hit hardest by any change, as they are most likely to feel the pressure to work on Sundays.
- Two thirds (67%) of British adults support the current rule, whereby larger stores can only open for 6 hours on a Sunday (Populus survey, Sep 2015).
- It has been suggested that changes to Sunday trading are needed in light of the rise of online shopping. Yet, in consumer research carried out by Populus, no respondents said that Sunday trading restrictions were a reason that they shopped online over the Christmas period.
- In September, the shop-workers' union, USDAW, surveyed more than 10,000 of its members who worked in retail. Of those working in larger stores (that would be affected by the changes), 91% opposed longer opening hours, whilst 58% said that they already felt under pressure to work on Sundays.
- Just before the election, a representative of the Conservative party, writing "on behalf of the Prime Minister", said that there were no plans to change the law (see below).
- In August 2014, the prime minister said that every government department should "be held to account for the impact of their policies on the family." But this economic policy, now championed by the prime minister, fails his own 'Family Test'.
- The government has suggested that the proposal involves devolution of power to local authorities (something towards which Liberal Democrats may be sympathetic).
- In fact, the proposal is only ‘one way’. It wouldn’t allow local authorities to strengthen existing protections if that is what local authorities felt that local people wanted. It would only allow local authorities to relax existing protections.
- This proposal isn’t really about devolving decision making to local people – it’s about liberalisation.
- The government is trying to introduce this controversial change very late in the day meaning that MPs and the House of Lords have very limited opportunity to scrutinise it. If the government wants to liberalise Sunday trading, it should do so in a way that allows the whole House of Commons and the House of Lords to consider it properly.