21 February 2008
Support for restricted Sunday Trading has been revealed as a result of a recent public consultation exercise. Produced by the Economic Development Department, 267 responses to the question on the level of regulation of Sunday trading and the suitability of new draft legislation were received from both consumers, retailers and interested Island organisations.
The results reveal that of the 237 who chose to complete the questionnaire 57% of respondents were in overall favour of Sunday opening, 41% of them supported some form of restriction and 16% favoured complete deregulation. The preferred option was to allow only small shops to open for a limited trading period, for example, between 10am and 4pm.
The Economic Development Department received a number of comments both in support of and opposed to trading on a Sunday. Those in favour believe it would help with economic growth, improve efficiency, increase competition, offer the consumer more choice and could be an attractive proposition for the tourism industry.
For those against, the most common concerns were based on family issues, employee rights, religious standpoints and negative pressure on competing businesses to open. In terms of the types of businesses permitted to trade, the least favoured appeared to be gambling, wholesale and supply services as well as non food outlets. Of those who were not in favour of Sunday trading, a significant proportion still chose to indicate their preferred restrictions. This may be an indication that the sample in favour of Sunday trading in some form is in fact higher, nearer to 74%.
Assistant Minister for Economic Development, Connétable Geoffrey Fisher who has responsibility for Sunday trading says, “The current Sunday trading legislation has been in place for a significant number of years and is recognised to have certain deficiencies. Over time it is possible that attitudes may have changed and it was therefore appropriate to carry out this consultation exercise. Although the majority of responses indicate that total deregulation is not desired the results do show that some relaxation in regulation would be generally welcomed”.
The survey results follow the publication of the Jersey Annual Social Survey 2006 (JASS), which also included a chapter on Sunday trading. Out of the 1540 responses this received, JASS indicated that only 17% of responses were against any form of Sunday opening but more that half wanted some form of restrictions. Similarly, the most favoured option being a shorter trading day.
The results of the Public Consultation can be viewed by clicking the following link Sunday Trading - Summary of Responses. Alternatively, a hard copy of the survey is available by telephoning Economic Development on 01534 448137.
Some changes to the draft Law and Regulations are necessary as a result of the comments received and these are currently in train with the intention of presenting the Law and Regulations to the States before the end of March.