Peter Morton writes:
This week Tory ministers that could have big consequences for local shops and for people who work at supermarkets.
Not too many people noticed the plans to let councils set longer Sunday opening hours and perhaps that’s how the Tories would like it.
Why? Because these changes could mean shop workers seeing their children less and fearing that they would be pressed by bosses to work longer hours.
One corner shop owner has already told The Mirror that he feels,
A couple of months ago I went to a meeting where shop workers told their stories about working on Sundays, and why they don’t want the law changes to go through.
They spoke movingly about it being their one chance in the week to see families, and a feeling that they are being pressured into working on Sundays already.
Shopworkers have told USDAW, their trade union, in detail about what Sunday Trading means to them.
One said: “I have a disabled daughter and am a single parent. The pressure of working weekends and arranging suitable care is extremely difficult.”
Others talked about the difficulty of finding childcare: “I would be unable to find childcare. I already have to rely on family members to cover my Saturday shift!”
For those who are carers, two thirds said that they find it hard to get alternative care for their loved ones when they have to work on a Sunday.
Longer Sunday shifts would just make things worse.
So this is another hit by the Tories on working families on top of the bedroom tax and George Osborne’s attack on tax credits last year.
But Sunday Trading changes are not too popular with retailers either.
The boss of John Lewis has opposed changes and the Association of Convenience Stores has called them complicated, harmful and unnecessary.
Smaller shops depend on the business they do on a Sunday and longer opening supermarket hours are a threat to their livelihoods.
ASDA, owned by the American chain Walmart, is one of the few stores that support the change.
So we have a Tory change to the law that cuts away at the one day of the week many working families can be together, that many of the big retailers oppose, and that could put small local shops at risk.