The majority of people think relaxing current Sunday trading laws will cause shop workers’ family lives to suffer, a new survey has revealed.
The poll of close to 2,000 adults in England and Wales also showed that three in five people agree that shop workers will be forced to work longer hours if the law changes.
The results of the survey, commissioned by the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), were submitted to the Government’s consultation on plans to allow local authorities to extend Sunday trading hours.
The consultation was launched in the middle of the summer, with ministers using the increase in online shopping and the demands of the tourism industry to argue for longer shopping hours.
The ACS poll showed that 57 per cent agree with the statement: “The quality of shop workers’ family life will suffer if Sunday trading laws are relaxed”, with just 13 per cent disagreeing.
And just 13 per cent felt there is not enough time to shop on a Sunday under the current rules.
A separate ACS survey of nearly 2,000 adults revealed that six in ten people see Sunday as different from the rest of the week as it enables shared time with family and friends, while 57 per cent believe Sunday is a “day of relaxation”.
ACS warned the Government that its plans to remove Sunday trading hours are “unpopular, will cost jobs and damage high streets”.
The Christian Institute accused the Government of breaking its promise on the issue, as the Keep Sunday Special campaign was told ahead of the General Election that the Conservatives had “no current plans to relax the Sunday trading laws”.
Director Colin Hart said: “Extended Sunday trading impacts not just shop assistants, but lorry drivers, cleaners, security guards and a whole host of other workers.
“Christian employees already receive inadequate protection from the current laws and these plans make things worse.
“There is no doubt that liberalising Sunday trading will lead to more pressure on people to work on Sundays, harming family life and further interfering with Sunday as a day of rest.”
The consultation closed last week.