That Olympic Legacy: Sunday Trading


I’ve posted before about the Olympic promise: “To demonstrate that the UK is a creative, inclusive and welcoming place to live in, to visit and for business.” An early sign of how the Olympics will change Britain, came with George Osborne’s announcement last week that Sunday trading laws will be relaxed for eight weeks over the summer.

The Sunday Trading Act 1994 (as heavily amended) prohibits Sunday opening for more than 6 hours altogether between 10am and 6pm. While at one stage, the legislation limited the powers of businesses to make workers work on Sundays; in practice all that is left is a restriction on big businesses’ ability to force small businesses out of the market. “We’ve got the whole world coming to London – and the rest of the country – for the Olympics,” Osborne was quoted as saying. “It would be a great shame – particularly when some of the big Olympic events are on Sunday – if the country had a closed for business sign on it.” But if people are watching the Olympics, they’ll be at the games, not in Tesco.

This isn’t aboutmaking life easier for tourists, or shoppers generally. There is no bolder vision than to recreate Britain afterwards as a place where businesses can trade without taxes or responsibilities.

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