David Cameron warned not to extend new Sunday trading laws past Olympics
David Cameron has been warned that applying the extended trading hours past the Olympics period would represent a ‘major breach of trust’ by the Coalition.
The Prime Minister has refused to rule out an extension of the temporary lifting of the Sunday trading laws during the Olympic Games. This has led senior Conservative MP Mark Pritchard to remark:
“This is a major breach of trust between the Government and the many Conservative MPs who only supported the measure because the Government promised the change would be temporary only.
“A permanent change would harm small traders, workers' rights, and further damage relations between the Church and the Government. I will not support the move".
The relaxation of the trading laws was initially approved by the House of Commons on the condition that it was only for the eight week long Olympic season.
Norman Lamb, a Liberal Democrat business minister, said at the time, "I want to make it clear that this is a temporary measure and not a test case for a permanent relaxation of the rules in the future."
However, this weekend, Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, said that the idea of more permanent changes to the law should be ‘looked at’ after the Olympics.
Figures in the Labour Party are now accusing the Government of using their Olympics trading law policy as a ‘Trojan horse’ for long term labour law reforms; and trade unions are concerned about staff being coerced into working on a Sunday.
Many Christians are opposed to a permanent change, and want to keep Sunday ‘sacred’ as a day of rest.
Andrea Minichiello Williams, CEO of Christian Concern, said:
“We need to protect and mark out time for family and relationships; for recreation and rest. A collective day of rest is a reminder that we are created for more than just work; we are made to be more than just cogs in a great machine; we are human beings.
“Our worth is not determined by our economic potential or our take home pay; a day of rest reminds us that we are precious because we are created and cared for by God.”