Hundreds from Hillingdon join calls for Boxing Day shop ban

Hundreds from Hillingdon join calls for Boxing Day shop ban pic credit: GoToVan via Flickr.com

Hundreds from Hillingdon have joined a national call from over 140,000 people to ban shops opening on Boxing Day.

The petition gathered so much support nationwide that it triggered a debate in Parliament today.

The campaign called for the Government to “Close all retail on boxing day” because “retail isn't needed on boxing day!”

The petition stated: “Christmas is a family time, the one day is not enough time to see two sides of families, retail workers work extremely hard during the Christmas run up and only get the one day. If only everywhere could be closed boxing day! Some things are needed over the festive period, retail isn't one of them.”

The 140,968 signatures included 352 from Hillingdon constituency areas comprising:

  • Uxbridge and South Ruislip 147
  • Hayes and Harlington 110
  • Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner 95

Reader competition: WIN a meal for FOUR in Ruislip

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Another petition on Change.org garnered even greater support, with over 230,000 signatures.

Ian Lapworth, who who began that campaign, said: “Shops, especially supermarkets, do not need to open on Boxing Day. Whilst not everyone may see Christmas as a religious holiday, it should be respected as such, and retail workers (who work so hard on the run up to the big day) given some decent family time to relax and enjoy the festivities like everyone else.

“Most retail workers are on the go up to Christmas Eve, then back on Boxing Day. Sometimes they have no choice. We managed 30 and 40 years ago...when shops were sometimes shut for a whole week. Let's get back to the way it was. Forget making money for one day, let's concentrate on making more memories with the ones we love.”


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Reader competition: WIN a meal for FOUR in Ruislip

Helen Jones MP, Chair of the Petitions Committee, said today: “I have moved from indifference to anger (on this issue) and I have done so because all of the evidence shows that poorly paid workers are being exploited to fuel a national a debt fuelled shopping for a binge which in the end does does no one any real good.”

She said, having worked at a shop herself, she could appreciate that the job is physically exhausting, being on your feet all day, as well as needing an inexhaustible level of restraint and patience to deal with “demanding and abusive customers”.

Workers in warehouses, distribution and on the shop floor enjoy no respite in the build up to Christmas, she said. An online consultation showed “very interesting and quite overwhelming” responses from about 6000 people, she said, including many who said no holidays were allowed by their firm in December.

The Government rejected the calls though.

In an official response, it stated: “We do not believe it is for central Government to tell businesses how to run their shops or how best to serve their customers. Therefore we are not proposing to ban shops from opening on Boxing Day.

“The Government recognises the importance of retail to national and local economies. It employs 3 million people and the sector generated £90 billion of Gross Value Added in 2014, 5.6% of the UK economy and 4% higher than in 2013.

“The Government also believes that all workers, including those in retail, should have access to employment rights and protections. The Government’s website, GOV.UK, provides detailed and accessible advice on all aspects of employment, including what to do in case of a dispute.”

It pointed out there are no controls on shops’ opening hours on Boxing Day, unless it falls on a Sunday.


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The Christmas Day Trading Act 2004 prohibits large shops from opening on Christmas Day whatever day of the week it falls. Similar legislation applies in Northern Ireland.

The Government stated: “The arrival of the internet has changed consumers’ shopping habits radically and many have got used to the freedom to buy what they need at any time that suits them. Online businesses and smaller retailers already have the flexibility to respond to this demand. Billions of pounds are spent by millions of shoppers on Boxing Day and it is also a busy day for internet sales.

"The Government believes that all businesses should be allowed flexibility to meet their customers’ needs and offer consumers choice about when and how they want to shop. This will help drive competition, productivity and the local economy, as well as helping create jobs.

“The Government believes that the current regulatory situation represents a fair balance between the interests of employers and workers.”


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