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Last Updated: Sunday, 25 June 2006, 03:26 GMT 04:26 UK
Shoppers 'want long Sunday hours'
Shoppers
Retail union Usdaw says extended Sunday trading will harm families
More than half of consumers want shops to open for longer on Sundays, research suggests.

The findings come from a YouGov poll carried out for the My Sunday My Choice campaign, which wants the Sunday trading laws to be deregulated.

The government is currently reviewing the restrictions on trading, which let shops open for six hours on a Sunday.

A rival campaign called Keep Sunday Special says it wants to see the day return to a family day of rest.

Law change

Under the Sunday Trading Act 1994, large shops over 280 square metres may only open for six continual hours between 10am and 6pm on Sundays, excluding Easter Sunday, when they must remain closed.

David Ramsden, chairman of Deregulate, the group behind the campaign, said: "A change to the Sunday trading law is something that both consumers and shop workers want.

"When Sunday opening was originally permitted in 1994 the opening hours were more than adequate.

"But society has changed over the past 12 years and today's consumer lives a busier life and needs more flexibility and choice."

The campaign claims that deregulation would generate an extra 1.4bn for the UK economy and bring England and Wales into line with Scotland.

We would like to see this country return to a day of rest
John Alexander, Keep Sunday Special

But a relaxation in the current rules is opposed by the Church of England and Usdaw, the union representing shopworkers.

In addition, a cross-party group of MPs has warned that extended shop opening times on Sundays could give some parents less time to spend with their children.

John Alexander, who runs the Keep Sunday Special campaign, said: "We would like to see this country return to a day of rest, to have a day when families can be together, have the Sunday dinner, go out and go to the seaside, play in the park."

The YouGov poll questioned 2,331 people for the My Sunday My Choice campaign. Of those questioned, 57% said they should be allowed to shop when and where they want, while 23% disagreed.

The Department of Trade and Industry has asked consumers, businesses and religious groups for their views on longer hours. The findings of the consultation have not yet been published.




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The issues surrounding Sunday trading laws



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