Letter: Give us the freedom to shop when we wish

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The Independent Online
Sir: You report the claim by Retailers for Shop Reform that 49 per cent of the MPs they polled supported their so-called compromise (report, 9 April). As one of those who was not polled, may I make one or two comments?

The first is that it is a complete misnomer to describe this as a 'compromise'. It is more accurate to describe it as a scheme by certain retailers to benefit those retailers. These retailers have indicated that they would not normally open on a Sunday. They want to stop others doing so. Marks & Spencer should be free not to trade on a Sunday; Sainsbury should be free to do so.

I am surprised that Gateway has joined this 'compromise'. My local Food Giant - owned by Gateway - opens on Sundays. Its prices are more than 20 per cent lower than those of a nearby 7-Eleven. Why should the customer be denied the right to shop at inexpensive stores like Food Giant on a Sunday?

Sunday shopping is popular. The manager of my local Food Giant tells me his turnover on a Sunday is higher than on a Monday or Tuesday. It is a sobering thought that last Sunday more people went to the supermarkets of England than attended the Church of England. Why should they be prevented from doing so?

Yours faithfully,

JOHN MARSHALL

MP for Hendon South (Con)

House of Commons

London, SW1

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