PAUL STAINTON: Shops in England and Wales could open for longer on Sundays, under plans to be set out by George Osborne tomorrow. In the Budget the Chancellor will propose giving local councils and elected mayors the power to decide how long shops in their areas should remain open. So he’s putting the power in the hands of local councils and elected mayors. Is that a good idea? Do you think longer shopping hours on Sunday will work? Or should we keep Sunday special? And does anybody keep it special anymore? We’ve got 24 hour internet, haven’t we? We’re all shopping all the time, aren’t we? Will Fyfe has been on the streets of Peterborough, asking opinions.
PERSON 1: Actually I think there’s two sides to the coin. The shops should be allowed to do what they want. Equally .. I mean nobody has to go out shopping on a Sunday if they don’t choose to. But equally I think there is something special about Sunday. And yes, I mean we’ve got the rest of the week to shop, so I .. you have to think of the shop workers really, and their families, and their right to a day off. Really if they open both days on the weekend then they’re going to probably be working both days of the weekend a lot. So it doesn’t seem fair in that way. It benefits the employers and not the employees. It benefits the companies and not the public, the society.
WILL FYFE: Well you could argue they could have another day off in the week. Any day in the middle of the week.
PERSON 1: But then probably their kids are at school, their partner’s at work. It’s totally out of synch with the rest of their family life. So unless we’re all living in this totally out of synch life, then it doesn’t seem to work out.
PERSON 2: For the likes of me it’s fine, but for the shopkeepers, the workers are obviously not going to get the time off. I presume.
WILL FYFE: Well I guess they could get it in the middle of the week, when they wanted it.
PERSON 2: I don’t really go out shopping a lot on Sundays. Only my local shop. Years ago shops never opened on a Sunday. So it is a new thing. The DIY shops I think probably benefit more.
WILL FYFE: Would you do your shopping on a Sunday? Would you go out Sunday afternoon, Sunday evening?
PERSON 3: No. No I wouldn’t. No.
PAUL STAINTON: Just some of the thoughts on the streets of Peterborough this morning. What say you? 0§459 252000. Shall we go back in time and close them all on a Sunday, or should we do what George is suggesting and open longer? Which are you in favour of? 0§459 252000. And if the big shops get to open longer, will that mean the little shops will suffer? Your thoughts. Brian Parker says ‘Sunday’s already finished for being special. It makes no odds Paul. Nobody keeps Sunday special anymore.’ Do you?
MUSIC: Can’t turn you loose. Otis Redding.