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Column 348justify their deregulatory proposals in the name of freedom of choice. That argument is superficially plausible, but in practice it is bogus.
When small stores close as a result of a superstore trading on Sundays, the freedom of choice of millions of people, including some of the most disadvantaged groups, will be much reduced. The public understand this, even if the SHRC and the right hon. Lady do not. Eighty per cent. of respondents to a National Opinion Polls poll conducted in September 1990 said that they would oppose wider Sunday opening if it would cause smaller shops to close.
There is also the issue of community life. Small shops' decline undermines the social fabric of community life. The Rural Development Commission has emphasised the importance of small shops in rural communities. When they go out of business, it is the elderly, the disabled, women at home with children, and those without transport who suffer. Community shops are highly valued by the public. In September 1992, a Countryweek survey asked villages which of their institutions was the most important. The shop came first with 50 per cent., the church second with 40 per cent., the village hall third and the pub fourth.
Deregulation would not, as so many people have argued, lead to increased profits. Even those who advocate deregulation acknowledge that Sunday trading would not increase profits. John Dowd, the managing director of Morrisons, which was reluctantly forced to open on Sundays to maintain market share, said :
"There is no more trade to be had. There is only one cake ; to slice into seven pieces rather than the six does not make the cake bigger".
Even David Quarmby, the managing director of Sainsbury, admitted : "It is not particularly commercial. I mean, it is almost profit-neutral for us."
Although there may be a little extra trade for the superstores which currently open under deregulation, the advantage would be wiped out as all the competitors opened on Sunday.
A study by the Small Business Research Centre in Cambridge found that only 10 per cent. of firms thought that Sunday trading would boost their sales and profitability. Half of firms thought that their profitability would decline.
In summary, the small shops sector has already had a foretaste of the effects of the Shopping Hours Reform Council option, since superstores, started opening on Sundays. It has had a detrimental effect on the turnover of local shops. Superstores do not need such trade--as we heard from Sainsbury, it is profit-neutral--but for small stores and shops, Sunday trade is crucial for survival.
If the SHRC proposal became law, the effect would be felt not immediately but within three to five years, when market share would be concentrated in the hands of superstores, and local shops and high streets could have virtually disappeared.
For those reasons, I hope not only that the House will accept my amendment dealing with Easter and Christmas and the amendments that seek to limit Sunday opening to mornings only, but that the amendment proposed by the right hon. Member for Selby, which deals with the size of shops--the big and the small and the less-than-3,000 sq ft option--will commend itself to every hon. Member, irrespective of party.
Sir John Hannam (Exeter) : I shall follow on from the points made by the hon. Member for Liverpool, Mossley Hill (Mr. Alton) in his excellent speech. He referred to other amendments in the main group and I speak in support of amendment No. 38 and the consequential amendments which stand in my name and that of the hon. Member for York (Mr. Bayley).
The amendments are straightforward and easily understood. Their purpose is to restrict the opening hours of the larger stores to Sunday mornings with 1 pm as the closing time. If the House were to accept them, we should achieve the best compromise, and we have talked much about compromise in this debate.
The half-day opening of shops has always been a successful method of giving staff a good family break and instead of having a complicated system of registration and notices of the particular six hours during which shops intend to open on Sundays, as will happen under the present six-hour shopping day proposals, no notices are required under our proposals. In addition, registration with local authorities, would not be necessary, although one of our consequential amendments would provide for a local registration system to assist local authorities, but that could easily be dropped by the Government if they felt that it was not necessary. In the debate on 8 December, much was made of the suggestion that a six-hour option was the "compromise" option, but, in a situation where many hon. Members might not have ideally chosen any of the three options, the six- hour option may have been selected--by a very small majority of 16 on the second vote--as merely the best of what was on offer. If Sunday trading for large shops is to be controlled by the number of hours they are permitted to open, it is legitimate for the House to consider the exact number of hours. I should like to explore first how many hours constitute a real compromise and when they might best be accommodated.
The Deregulation and Contracting Out Bill, which has been published since the crucial vote on the Sunday options, will permit shops to open without restriction between Monday and Saturday. The extension of opening hours should influence our thinking on what represents a compromise for Sunday opening. We should also identify the competing interests that have to be reconciled in arriving at the right compromise. In this case, we must consider the interest of consumers and small shops, the environment, employees, families and the general quality of life in the community.
To allow shops to open for a half day, as we used to see mid-week or Saturday afternoons, would provide a total of one-and-a-half days within the two-day weekend. I believe that that is a much better compromise than allowing shops to trade for any six hours within an eight-hour window--that is, in effect, for the larger part of a normal working day. If one adds on the time before opening and the clearing-up time, one arrives at a normal working day. Incidentally, the amendments are in line with the pre- Christmas period of extended opening of up to seven hours on the four Sundays. Of course, under the amendments all small shops would continue to be able to trade without restriction throughout the year.
For the benefit of those who are anxious to avoid a return to the 1950 Sunday shopping law, I stress that the amendment would clear up various anomalies and simplify
Column 350even more than the six-hour option. The question is how half-day opening would sit with retailers and their customers.
We must remember that retail interests have driven the campaign for Sunday shopping in the name of the Shopping Hours Reform Council and they are dominated by DIY and major food retailers such as Sainsbury's, Tesco, Safeway, Asda, B and Q, Texas and Homebase, all of whom have been willing to flout the existing restrictions and laws. However, we must accept that if Sunday trading is permitted for six hours, the forces of competition will drag other retailers in their slipstream, however reluctant they may be initially to trade. The major food companies are now big retailers of non-food goods. Sainsbury's alone sells perhaps £2 billion worth of non-food goods a year. Marks and Spencer and the John Lewis Partnership, although they believe that Sunday trading will bring no long-term benefit, have said that they will not be able to stand out indefinitely if the household names are driven by competitive forces to open. Who else will resist? What will happen to the smaller shops?
If the better compromise is half-day opening, when should it occur? As I said, morning opening and afternoon closing have precedents. The early- closing day was of great benefit to many people and is still applied through employment laws in many European countries, in Belgium, Luxembourg and Austria, for example. Some may argue that it is better to open in the afternoon on a Sunday rather than in the morning, but that is not better for the consumer ; nor is it better socially.
Consumers requiring DIY items or garden equipment on Sunday would be able to buy them sooner rather than later in the day. Equally, those wanting food would be more likely to shop in the morning before the mid-day meal. The same is true for garden centres. Consumer interest clearly backs the Sunday morning opening rather than afternoon opening.
From a social point of view, limiting opening to mornings only would be far more beneficial.
Mr. David Nicholson (Taunton) : I came to hear my hon. Friend because he is a neighbour, but I am a little puzzled. Some people will want to shop for food and other household goods on Sunday mornings but it would be more normal to visit a garden centre or a DIY shop, and particularly a garden centre, on Sunday afternoon. What has he to say about that?
Sir John Hannam : I do not understand the logic of my hon. Friend's argument. One would not want to buy plants at 4 pm or 5 pm on a Sunday and have to work all through Sunday night to plant them. I have discovered that many garden centres have shop buildings consisting of less than 3,000 sq ft, so that would allow them to stay open throughout the day. Most garden centres will be able to continue trading throughout the day, anyway.
As I was saying, from the social point of view I believe that Sunday morning opening is more beneficial. In the average active hours of the typical citizen on Sunday, from 8.30 in the morning until 10.30 at night, morning shopping could occupy the first four or four and a half hours of a 14-hour day. In the remaining hours, there would be benefits for all the other interests.
Smaller shops would have a better chance of competing with larger shops, thus preserving a vital service for
Column 351villages and other local communities. Residents of high streets and areas near shopping centres would have peace and quiet for a decent proportion of the day. Shop workers would be home for Sunday lunch, and would be able to spend the rest of the day with their families. From the environmental point of view, half-day opening would limit the estimated increase of 1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year that would result from widespread full Sunday trading.
The most important argument about the proposal is that the retail and, more especially, the consumer interests that have driven the campaign for Sunday opening--DIY interests, the garden centres and the food stores--should be sufficiently served by half-day opening, without dragging along in their slipstream, however unwillingly, the rest of the retail industry. That, in turn, would bring real benefits for retail employees.
Those of us with real doubts about the effectiveness of a statutory right not to work on Sunday would welcome a situation in which there would probably be sufficient genuine volunteers for Sunday work on the scale projected for Sunday morning. There would also be less of a reduction in full-time weekday employment in favour of part-time weekend employment. That reduction is a forecast trend that clearly works against the interests of breadwinners' incomes and it is expected to reduce the overall number of jobs in retailing. We have already seen evidence of it in the increase in the number of part-time workers.
I must take account of the argument that morning opening conflicts with church services. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Selby (Mr. Alison) said earlier, the six-hour option poses the same question. However, I suspect that church leaders would regard the morning-only option as preferable to six-hour opening. Many church-going colleagues have argued that those who wish to attend morning services will continue to do so, and they are right. Services last about an hour, so there will still be plenty of time for both worship and Sunday shopping for those who wish to do both. A dictionary definition of "compromise" is :
"finding an intermediate way between the conflicting causes by the modification of each".
If we are to have a compromise on Sunday trading, permitting larger shops to open until 1 pm, and until 4 pm on the four Sundays before Christmas, would provide a fairer balance between retail interests and the interests, indeed the survival, of small shops, the environment, employees, families and the community as a whole. If the amendment in the name of my right hon. Friend the Member for Selby is rejected, I hope that the House will look favourably on amendment No. 38, which would achieve all that we need to achieve in clearing up the anomalies of existing shop legislation and allow all shops to open for a decent four and a half hours on Sunday morning, giving us all at least a peaceful half day with our families. 8.45 pm
Mr. Hugh Bayley (York) : It is a curious irony that while the House of Lords is debating the International Year of the Family, we are debating legislation that, whichever decision we make, will have real implications for the family.
I shall speak in support of amendment No. 38 and the consequential amendments so persuasively advocated by
Column 352the hon. Member for Exeter (Sir J. Hannam). I agree with his arguments and there are one or two other points that I should like to raise, too.
On Second Reading, I supported the case put forward jointly by the Keep Sunday Special campaign and Retailers for Shops Act Reform, for two principal reasons. First, it represented the only option before the House on Second Reading that I believed was genuinely concerned with, and committed to, employee protection.
Several hon. Members have advanced the case that Sunday shopping is necessary because women feel unable to shop, or unsafe shopping, outside their normal working hours during the week. I shall read the House a short extract from a letter that I received from one of my constituents, Miss Phyllis Abba, a lady now retired :
"I worked at Boots when we had to do most of our shopping during our dinner time and I cut out a tea-break to make it a little longer for this purpose, because when we left at 6 pm, and 1 pm on half-day closing, most of the other shops were closed too. So when people talk of needing Sunday for shopping, in these days of much greater leisure, I am not very impressed."
As someone who worked in the shop trade, she found ways to shop for her needs, despite the fact that, because of her employment, she was at work during precisely the hours when shops were open.
The second reason why I supported the Keep Sunday Special and RSAR compromise on Second Reading was my belief that the key issue is whether we want retailing to go the way of small local businesses or the way of national chains. I saw the argument as one between the town centre and out- of-town shopping, between the high street and the hypermarket. I believed that it was important to protect the interests of smaller businesses, which provide a range and diversity not, by their very nature, offered by a small number of large national stores whose shops sell exactly the same products whether they are in York or in Abingdon.
My heart tells me that I ought to support the zero hours option put forward by Keep Sunday Special--and indeed I shall vote for it. But my head tells me that that proposal may not carry the day. If it is carried, the amendment in the name of the right hon. Member for Exeter and myself will fall. If and only if Keep Sunday Special is not carried will the House have an opportunity to vote for our proposal.
We propose a genuine compromise which provides a genuine half day to allow people who want or need to shop on Sunday to do so. But it would also allow shop workers and others whom Sunday shopping would require to work on Sunday the opportunity to spend at least some of Sunday--the afternoon and evening--with their families, making it different from the days of the normal working week.
Mr. Douglas French (Gloucester) : I support the hon. Gentleman's half-day proposals ; indeed, I suggested something similar on Second Reading. But will he say what arguments he has considered on the possibility of having half-day closing on Sunday morning and half-day opening on Sunday afternoon?
Mr. Bayley : In Committee, I spoke to and supported a similar proposition, but, on reflection, I have come to the opinion that a morning rather than an afternoon Sunday opening provides a better balance between the social need for time off and the commercial needs of retailers to open shops when people would choose to use them. I understand the conflict between morning opening and church services, but, as the right hon. Member for Selby
Column 353and the hon. Member for Exeter have explained, people who want to shop as well as go to church would be able to do so under this compromise proposal which allows four and a half or five hours opening on Sunday morning.
The six-hour option put forward by the Shopping Hours Reform Council differs only by degree from the normal eight-hour shopping day. A half day, by contrast, is a step-change difference.
Mr. Couchman : The hon. Gentleman speaks of a normal eight-hour shopping day. Most of the large stores now open from 8 o'clock in the morning until 7 or 8 o'clock in the evening. Thus, a normal shopping day is 11 or 12 hours.
Mr. Bayley : I speak of my constituency. With the exception of Thursday and Friday, the normal hours for almost all shops are 9 am to 5 pm or 5.30 pm. It is a shopping day of about eight hours. If the hon. Member is arguing that the nature of retailing is changing in such a way that more and more shops open 12 hours, he will have to accept that the argument for Sunday opening is weakened and is getting weaker day by day. When that is coupled with the implications of the Government's deregulation legislation, which will enable and encourage shopkeepers to open more hours of the day, the argument that some people cannot shop during the week will become less and less valid.
I should like to say a word or two about employee protection. I welcome the Government's concessions in this regard, but, as we all know, real protection will be impossible to enforce by statute. In the real world of nods and winks, shop workers realise that they will progress only if they conform to the wishes of their employers. When an employer wants seven-day opening, employees will, at the very least, compromise their career prospects, and perhaps even risk their jobs, if they do not go along.
Anyone who wants a future in the retail trade will have to agree to work on Sundays, and most will agree. Work will have to come first, and families second, seven days a week rather than just six. Shop workers know that protection can be obtained only by their going to an industrial tribunal and they realise that such redress is slow, that the penalties are inadequate and that, even if the judgment goes their way, their chances of reinstatement in employment are virtually nil.
Shop workers will have seen the press reports appearing even at a time when one might have thought that the retail companies would be keeping a low profile. I refer to the period of the passage of this legislation. There have been newspaper reports of the firing of shop workers who refused to work on Sundays and of the letter to Sainsbury managers telling them that if they wanted to keep their jobs they would have to go in on Sundays.
We all know that anyone who wants a career in a major chain that opens seven days a week will have to be prepared to work on Sunday.
Rev. Martin Smyth : Does the hon. Gentleman accept that the best form of protection would be the old Puritan idea of double time on Sunday? There is some irony in the compromise that resulted in the proposal of the hon.
Column 354Member for Liverpool, Mossley Hill (Mr. Alton)--I refer to amendment No. 14--with a view to protecting Christmas, which the Puritans were against. The Bill is riding roughshod over all employment traditions and practices in this nation.
The House has voted for a measure of Sunday trading. This will result in people who are employed in the retail trade having to work on Sunday. The legal protection embodied in the Bill simply will not amount to real protection for most employees. Protection can be provided only by a decision of Parliament that shops are not allowed to open at certain times and that any shopkeeper opening will be breaking the law. This amendment is a compromise. It provides that all shops will be able to open on the first part of Sunday, but that only small shops will be allowed to open for the rest of the day. Under all the proposals, the latter has been agreed to.
I should like, finally, to deal with a couple of technical points. The amendment proposes what was contained in the original Retailers for Shops Act Reform and Keep Sunday Special compromise proposal at the time of the Second Reading. The compromise was that shopping should be allowed throughout the day on the four Sundays before Christmas. That is a realistic and practical proposition, and it is provided for in the compromise that I propose.
At the time of the Second Reading, the SHRC presented an eight-hour opening period as a compromise. As we discovered in Committee, the period of disruption caused by shopping will be not eight hours but, taking into account the shopping-up period, eight and a half hours.
Mr. Bayley : It is eight and a half hours. Shops will be allowed to open from 10 o'clock in the morning until 6 o'clock in the evening, and people will be able to continue shopping until 6.30. That was presented as a compromise, but it was never a genuine compromise. This issue has divided the House deeply for far longer than the period of my membership. If hon. Members want a compromise that will allow a measure of shopping on Sunday for those to whom that is important but also provide a measure of real protection for shop workers and their families, amendment No. 38 is a way forward, and I recommend it to the House.
Mr. John Marshall : Listening to some of the speeches tonight, I sensed that I was listening to individuals who rarely, if ever, go shopping. We have just heard a speech from the hon. Member for York (Mr. Bayley), in which he suggested that his amendment was a compromise and that supermarkets would open at 8.30 in the morning and people would rush out to shop at that time. If he went round supermarkets on Sundays, he would know that relatively few people go in before 11 o'clock in the morning.
Even if amendment No. 38, tabled by the hon. Member for York and my hon. Friend the Member for Exeter (Sir J. Hannam) were accepted, supermarkets would not open before 10 am. So the amendment provides a three-hour option. It does not seem to me that a shopping day of three hours for supermarkets can be described as a compromise.
Column 355Let hon. Members who are thinking of voting for amendment No. 38 remember that they would deprive the checkout girls at Tesco of £24 every Sunday. Instead of having a six-hour working Sunday, they would have a three-hour working Sunday. I do not believe that it is up to Members of Parliament to salve their consciences at the expense of checkout girls at Tesco, Sainsbury and Asda. Amendment No. 38 is not a compromise. It is anything but a compromise. It would cut the working day to three hours rather than six or six and a half hours. Amendment No. 14 has been tabled by the hon. Member for Liverpool, Mossley Hill (Mr. Alton). I believe that he is wrong to say that on Easter Sunday people do not want to go and shop. If people want to buy plants from a garden centre, they will frequently want to do so on Easter Sunday. The hon. Member for Lewisham, Deptford (Ms Ruddock) made that point in Committee when we were talking about Easter Sunday. I had to remind the hon. Member for Mossley Hill that Easter day was always a Sunday. He did not seem to know that.
Mr. Alton : If the hon. Gentleman will calm down for just a moment, will he be good enough to confirm that he does not believe that there should be any exemption for either Christmas day when it falls on a Sunday or Easter day?
Mr. Marshall : The hon. Gentleman knows that that is not true. I specifically offered to sign an amendment if he would limit it to Christmas day when it falls on a Sunday. I said to him that it was not right to impose his restrictions on individuals who wanted to go shopping for plants, go to DIY centres or to motor around the country on Easter Sunday. That is why I was willing to agree with him on Christmas day. I acted in the spirit of compromise, but he wanted all or nothing and was not willing to give way.
Mr. Alton : The hon. Gentleman will accept, because of his deep knowledge of the calendar, that Christmas day rarely falls on a Sunday. The festival of Easter begins on the Friday before Easter. Good Friday is a good example. It was once a special day in this country. It no longer is. Will not Easter day and Christmas day go precisely the same way as Good Friday if the hon. Gentleman does not support an amendment such as mine tonight?
Mr. Marshall : There is no reason why. It is a defensive position for spokesmen of the Church to come to the House and say, "Unless you give us the protection of telling people that they cannot shop on Easter day and Christmas day, those days will go the way of Good Friday." It is up to the churches in this country to have a message to give to the people of this country.
I was surprised today to receive a letter from the Bishop of London. I looked for a letter from the Bishop of London before we voted last Monday. Did I get one? No. Have I ever had a letter from him on overseas aid? No. Did I receive a letter from the Bishop of London when the House dealt with the abortion measure introduced by the hon. Member for Mossley Hill? No. The only issue that seems to concern the Bishop of London is Sunday trading.
Rev. Martin Smyth : On a point of order, Mr. Morris. Will you confirm that in discussing any motion before the House we are all equal within the House and that for a Member to refuse to give way to a person who comes from another part of the Kingdom is a shame on British democracy although it may reflect the attitude of the hon. Gentleman?
Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Michael Morris) : All hon. Members are indeed equal, whatever part of the United Kingdom they represent, but when an hon. Member has the Floor it is entirely up to him or her whether to give way.
Mr. Marshall : What I was really saying was that the Bill affects certain parts of the United Kingdom and not others. Those who heard my speech last time the House discussed the Bill will know that I gave way seven times during my speech. I am happy to give way, but I ought to give priority to those whose constituents will be affected by the Bill rather than to others whose constituents will not. Mr. Alton rose --
Mr. Alton : I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman, but will he correct the record? He complained a few moments ago about the Bishop of London. The Bishop of London was not the Bishop of London when the measure that I promoted was before the House. The then Bishop of London, Graham Leonard, was a considerable supporter of that Bill and spoke in favour of it in the other place.
Mr. Marshall : I did not think that that Bill actually reached the other place, but the then Bishop of London did not see fit to write to the then hon. Member for Hendon, South about it in any event. This is the only piece of legislation coming through the House about which I have ever had a letter from the Bishop of London. It says something about the priorities of the Church that this is the only matter on which it sees fit to write to me. I would prefer it to write to me about overseas aid or some of the other great moral issues facing us.
There are good reasons why supermarkets should be allowed to open on Sunday. First, it is what the customer wants. It is no use the hon. Member for Mossley Hill referring to opinion polls. The fact is that more housewives go shopping on a Sunday than on a Monday, a Tuesday or a Wednesday. When I went round various supermarkets last autumn I asked people why they were shopping on that particular day. They told me that it was because it was convenient. The ladies were able to persuade their husbands to go with them, and some of the husbands may have paid the bill at the end. The children were out with
Column 357them. On one occasion, I saw a son of about 40 taking his 70-year-old mother shopping. He had shopped for himself on the Saturday and was shopping in a different part of London with his mother on the Sunday. The consumer wants it. The housewife wants it. Secondly, employees want it. A large number of them work only on a Sunday. They ask us to let them keep their Sunday money because they need it. It is not right for hon. Members to salve their consciences by preventing shopworkers from earning £48.
Mr. Bayley : Before the hon. Member makes his third point, he has said that it is wrong of those such as myself who support the compromise half-day amendment to seek to deprive Sunday shopworkers of part of their earnings. Did he not hear the hon. Member for Liverpool, Mossley Hill (Mr. Alton) say that the Home Office, on its own research that it commissioned from London Economics, had found that if the Shopping Hours Reform Council's proposal went through it would cut the number of whole-time equivalent retail jobs by some 5, 000? So what the hon. Gentleman is arguing for--more opening on Sunday--will redistribute jobs, not create more, and will reduce the number of jobs and therefore the number of opportunities for people who need the money to earn it by working in retailing.
Mr. Marshall : I do not necessarily accept that if shops open for a longer time, one will end up with fewer jobs. It does not seem very logical. As one who was for many years a professional economist, I have always known that economic forecasts were never as precise as the hon. Gentleman seeks to make them. It was always said that if one had five economists in a room one would have five different opinions, unless Lord Keynes was one of them, in which case there would be six. So I do not accept that a particular survey makes that point. The third reason why I believe that supermarkets should be allowed to open, not for the half-day option, but for somewhat longer than the three hours proposed by the hon. Member for York, is that prices in supermarkets are substantially lower than elsewhere. I have told the House before of a visit that I made to two shops in my constituency. One was 7-Eleven, the sort of shop that the hon. Member for York would keep open all day, and the other was Food Giant, a large supermarket. The basket of goods bought from Food Giant cost £13.74 ; precisely the same goods from the 7-Eleven store cost £18.35
Mr. Marshall : The 7-Eleven store has never been a particularly successful retailer, while Food Giant, which is part of the Gateway chain, has been relatively successful. Neither of the two stores is brilliantly profitable, but Food Giant is slightly more profitable than 7-Eleven. However, I do not think that that is relevant to the issue, which is whether the customer should have the opportunity to do whatever he or she wants to do. The question we should
Column 358address is whether the pensioners of Hendon should have the chance to buy pints of milk at 25p from Food Giant or at 38p from 7-Eleven. I believe that many customers would prefer to shop at low prices rather than to be cajoled or forced into shops with goods at high prices.
Today, one or two hon. Members have talked about the cost of Sunday opening and have mentioned refuse. Everyone connected with local authorities knows that every retailer has to have a trade refuse agreement with the local authority--that is certainly true of larger retailers. The store will have to pay for any refuse around it to be collected. I know that a certain amount of refuse is created on Sunday, but it is normally created by take- away food restaurants which are not subject to opening restrictions under the Bill. It is perfectly possible for Burger King to open at almost any time on a Sunday, create refuse and not pay for it to be taken away. Parking is a subject which frequently upsets my hon. Friend the Member for Lancaster (Dame E. Kellett-Bowman). She should recognise that the one group in society that frequently supply car parking spaces for their customers to use are supermarkets. People visiting supermarkets in my constituency park in the supermarket car park. Difficulties would arise in my constituency if supermarkets were told that they could not open and people had to shop in Golders Green road, where double parking frequently occurs. Parking problems there are a thousand times worse than outside any supermarket.
People have shown that they like Sunday shopping. Individuals like to work on Sunday, and are queuing up to do so. We should listen to the voice of the British people. We have heard the name of Churchill mentioned this evening ; I should like to quote the words of Lord Randolph Churchill, who said, "Trust the people". I believe that if we trust the people we shall obtain a perfectly satisfactory compromise.
Mr. Fabricant : I do not intend to reiterate a number of the points that have already been made today and in Committee. The same issues were raised when I had the privilege to serve on the Committee that discussed the private Bill of the hon. Member for Ogmore (Mr. Powell), the Shops (Amendment) Bill.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Selby (Mr. Alison) raised a number of interesting issues. He said that small village shops would suffer if supermarkets were allowed to open on Sundays. In Lichfield, rightly or wrongly, the supermarkets open on Sundays--Tesco and Safeway both do so-- and the village shops around Lichfield are thriving. There is a market for the supermarket and there is also a market for the small corner shop--the two are not mutually exclusive. A number of hon. Members have said that there is no demand for Sunday trading--that is incredible, and I wonder whether they have ever been shopping on a Sunday. When I listen to some hon. Members, I wonder whether they shop at all. They may have husbands, wives or even, heaven forbid, servants who shop for them. As a single man, I have to shop on a Sunday and I can tell the House that the supermarkets are full--that is not only my personal experience ; research shows that 25 million people now shop regularly on Sunday. A total of 11 million people shop every Sunday, so to say that there is no demand for shopping on Sundays is ridiculous.
The option to shop only on Sunday mornings is equally ridiculous. For those of us who work hard, which includes
Column 359all 651 Members of the House, Sunday is the only opportunity for a lie-in. That means getting up, perhaps listening to the omnibus edition of the Archers, gradually getting dressed at 11.15 and strolling to the shops at midday. If shops closed after midday, there would be no opportunity to shop.
Some people in Lichfield would condemn me for listening to the omnibus edition of the Archers and others would say that I should be at the cathedral, which is only 50 yards from where I live. On some Sunday mornings, I do worship at the cathedral. How could I do that if I were expected to shop at the same time on Sunday mornings? It would not be practical.
Another amendment says that, as a result of deregulation, ladies and gentlemen can shop from 9 o'clock in the evening until midnight on weekdays. That is a fallacy. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Mitcham and Morden (Dame A. Rumbold) asked, what lady in her right mind living in an inner city would go out at 11 o'clock at night and push her trolley round a shop? How can that be an alternative to shopping on a Sunday?
If the amendment were passed and if Third Reading did not go through, 180,000 people who now work in supermarkets and stores on Sundays would find themselves out of a job. Is that what hon. Members on either side want? For those worried about premium pay, may I simply point out that people who work on Sundays receive on average 1.9 times the pay that they would get on a weekday.
This group of amendments does not make sense and I urge the House to reject them.