On my BBC News App I read that Members of Parliament are to debate calls for shops to be banned from opening on Boxing Day, one of the busiest shopping days of the year, after an online e-petition attracted more than 138,000 signatures. Labour MP Helen Jones will lead the debate in Westminster Hall. It will not involve a vote and so cannot enforce a change in the law, but it is a chance for MPs to discover whether Boxing Day trading is an issue with much support in Parliament.
Currently there are no controls on trading hours on Boxing Day unless it falls on a Sunday. Campaigners say that shop workers need more rest and the chance to be with their families at Christmas. The Christmas Day Trading Act prohibits shops larger than 280 square metres from opening on 25th December, but as yet there are no regulations for Boxing Day, a day when many sales begin.
When I was a child no shops opened on Christmas Day, Boxing Day, or on Sundays either. Sales started on 1st January, aptly named ‘The January Sales’. Now the sales are starting earlier and earlier.
I totally agree that shop assistants should not be forced to work on Boxing Day. Granted, many of these workers may belong to other religions and therefore do not celebrate Christmas at all, but for the ones that do celebrate it, they should have the choice whether they want to work or want to spend Boxing Day with their families. People will still flock to the sales a day later, and so what’s wrong with that?
Do you think that shops should open on Boxing Day? Is there a need for it?