Suffolk: Church would oppose trade law deregulation

CHURCH leaders have acknowledged demand for relaxing Sunday trading laws during the Olympics but vowed to contest permanent deregulation.

Rules limiting larger stores to opening for six hours, and only between 10am and 6pm, have been suspended for the duration of the Olympics and Paralympics.

Despite ministerial assurances that there were no plans to permanently relax rules, independent retail campaigners warn the move may set a precedent for further loosening of the law, which only affects traders with floor space of more than 3,000 sq ft, with smaller shops permitted to open at their discretion.

The Church of England has revealed similar concerns over permanent change. A spokesman for the St Edmundsbury and Ipswich Diocese said: “The Church understands special arrangements may need to be made for various reasons during the Olympics, but we would strongly oppose any attempts permanently to erode the special nature of Sunday, which legislation still reflects.

“We believe that for family stability and community life, as many people as possible should have the possibility of a common day off every week. The potential detrimental impact on the health of employees, and on small retailers, outweighs any potential benefits of further deregulation.”

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