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David Cameron Said He Wouldn't Relax Sunday Trading Laws Just Weeks Before The Election

But that's exactly what chancellor George Osborne plans to announce in his budget tomorrow.

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Your local supermarket might finally open for more than six hours a day on Sundays, as the chancellor plans to announce a measure to relax stringent trading laws in Wednesday's budget.

In the budget, he will announce proposals to allow towns and cities to decide whether or not to allow opening hours to be extended in their areas.

According to George Osborne, Britain's economy could be boosted if shops were allowed to open for longer on Sundays.

Current trading laws mean that large shops can't stay open for more than six hours on a Sunday. But during the 2012 Olympics, the current rules were relaxed and shops saw a boost in profit as a result.


The letter was written to the executive director of Keep Sunday Special, a campaign that believes Sundays should be protected so people can spend time with their families.

And it said the Conservatives had absolutely no plans to change Sunday trading laws:

I can assure you that we have no current plans to relax the Sunday trading laws. We believe that the current system provides a reasonable balance between those who wish to see more opportunity to shop in large stores on a Sunday, and those who would like to see further restrictions.

During the election campaign, Keep Sunday Special sent a message to MPs and party leaders "to pledge not to support further regulation" of Sunday trading, according to John Aschroft, spokesperson for Keep Sunday Special. This was the letter he got back from the Conservatives.

Keep Sunday Special is a branch of Relationships Foundation, a think-tank that looks at how a variety of issues – such as businesses, public services and culture – can impact relationships.

Ashcroft told BuzzFeed News that the proposal by the chancellor was a "breach of faith".

"We know that George Osborne has wanted to pursue deregulation for a number of years, and there have been a number of attempts," Ashcroft said, "so we know that he was hoping to do something at this budget so in a sense it's no surprise.

"But we think it's wrong in principle and that there is a significant detriment to family life [in extending opening hours on Sundays]."

Ashcroft said it was more of an issue for parents. "If you're a parent with school-age children, getting a day off during the week is not the same as getting a day off during the weekend," he said.

The Conservative party press office did not respond to a request for comment by the time of publication.

Some of Labour's leadership candidates have already come out against the chancellor's proposals.

Sundays are only day people who work in shops can bank on some time with their kids. I will oppose this all the way >

The Sunday Trading Act works: retailers can trade, customers can shop, shopworkers can spend time with families. Why change it? @UsdawUnion

Siraj Datoo is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Siraj Datoo at

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