Keep Sunday Special

Keep Sunday Special is a British campaign group set up in 1985 by Dr. Michael Schluter CBE to oppose plans to introduce Sunday trading in England and Wales (there are different arrangements in Scotland and Northern Ireland). The Keep Sunday Special campaign was set up and is run as a conventional secular civil society organisation with support from trade unions, churches, political parties, private businesses, and members of all faiths and of none. It has no connection to the Lord's Day Observance Society.


In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, before 1994 only small shops were allowed to open on Sunday, with large stores forced to remain shut. There were many rules at the time, which resulted in perceived idiosyncrasies such as the legal ability to buy a pornographic magazine but not a Bible or birthday card on a Sunday. Strict observance of Sabbath was declining, and other religions either had different days of rest, or none. However, some Christians set up letter-writing campaigns.

Trade unions and employers gave assurances that no worker would be forced to work on Sundays and surveys showed that even among Christians, many shopped on a Sunday so it was passed into law for a limited time. Under the Sunday Trading Act 1994, large shops are allowed to open for up to six hours on a Sunday between 10am and 6pm. The UK Department of Trade and Industry conducted a review of the Act in early 2006 to consider whether to extend opening hours to nine hours or to remove restrictions entirely. "Large" means having a retail area of 3,000 square feet (280 m2) or more.

Keep Sunday Special believed that such moves would have a damaging effect on families, communities and local economies, as did organisations like the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW), which launched a Save our Sundays campaign, the Relationships Foundation, Working Families.[1] An Early Day Motion was also signed by nearly 300 MPs.[2] On 6 July 2006, the then Trade and Industry Secretary, Alistair Darling, confirmed that, having considered all the evidence from the review, the Government concluded there should be no change to the Sunday trading laws.[3] The news was welcomed by trade unions and small shops who were afraid large stores would undercut their prices and were opposed to any change in the law.

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  1. ^ Usdaw members launch campaign in Bridgwater against extending Sunday shopping hours, USDAW, 1 June 2006
  2. ^ Jenkins, Brian; et al. (22 November 2005), Sunday Trading Hours, The Stationery Office, retrieved 26 December 2016
  3. ^ May, Laura (6 July 2006). "Sunday trading change rejected". The Independent (Press Association). Archived from the original on 22 April 2013.

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