“There is still a growing appetite for shopping on a Sunday.” In those words, George Osborne breezily explains why the Sunday trading laws will be relaxed. He will allow local authorities to extend Sunday Trading hours.
Why keep Sunday special?
A day of rest is part of God’s plan for all people. It is part of what is best for mankind. A day in the week when almost everybody is free from work is an important way to help family life and relationships flourish, by giving people time to spend together. God cares for those with low incomes and little influence. A day in the week largely free from commercial activity is especially valuable to those who would otherwise risk unfair treatment by their employers.
The economic effects of extended Sunday trading may improve market share but there are downsides too. There is no extra money to be spent. Longer opening hours means costs go up. Longer opening hours further damages family life. People are taken out of their homes on the one day when the rest of the family are likely to be there. Families of shopworkers will suffer disproportionately. Residents near shopping centres lose more peace and quiet.
If shop hours are extended because it is unacceptable to have restrictions in a free economy while freedom of choice has been upheld, the freedom to make family or faith a priority is restricted. Are the moral values Mr. Osborne promotes greed, consumerism, personal convenience the values we want? Sunday trading pampers the material wants of consumers and traders, but at the expense of human needs of shopworkers and others. Do we care? Freedom of choice is good but is not it better for Mr. Osborne and for us to love God and to love his neighbour?