Hewson On ... It's time to reform Sunday trading

I don't know about you but Sundays in our house are 'free days', in that we rest-up and steer well clear of anything much beyond tucking in to a decent lunch.

For me, any notion of shopping is avoided like the plague, for it just seems such a wearying way to spend a Sunday.

We are of course all different and my better-half just loves to shop, whatever time or day it may be. Being Spanish, she rather enjoys the novelty of Sunday shopping here, because in Spain most shops remain closed, despite pressure to change.

For her and many others like her, it's nice to have the choice; besides, the genie fled from the bottle years ago and there's no turning back. Sunday shopping is here to stay, like it or not.

So, given its popularity and the changing times in which we live, the present restrictions - which remain largely unchanged since it all began - seem to me to be rather out-of-date and completely out-of-step with modern thinking and modern lifestyles.

In short, Sunday trading has become an anachronism that needs change and reform, so that it better reflects the times in which we live.

To me, it's completely crazy that garden centres must close their doors on Easter Sunday, arguably their most important day of the year. This needs to change, as does the six-hour opening rule, so that retailers are, within reason, free to trade more flexibly, subject of course to their staff being willing and able so to do.

This is, after all, why the six-hour restriction is there, although some may indeed welcome having more hours.

I note with interest that Sunday trading is on the agenda of the recently formed Ornamentals round-table whose principal remit is to boost growth and competitiveness across the sector. That's good to hear and while I personally won't be hurrying off to the shops, it's nice to have the choice.

Andrew Hewson is a freelance writer and columnist

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