Sunday trading laws to be relaxed, can't we have just one day without shops?

The Government is looking at relaxing our Sunday trading laws in a move to help the embattled retail sector, on the basis of replies to an online survey of small businesses.

Currently, stores of more than 3,000sq ft in floor space in England and Wales can open for just six hours on a Sunday but the retail sector seems to be arguing that the more time people have to do shopping the more money then can spend and business will thrive once more.

There are several big issues here.

Firstly, why on earth can't we just have one day without retail madness? I loved it when shops didn't open at all on Sundays. The traffic was minimal, you could get about easily on public transport and the day held a relaxed vibe for everyone. So what if you couldn't do the weekly shop? Do it some other time.

Secondly, based on a study that had just 2,695 responses, we're now looking at relaxing laws even further that will affect the majority of 66 million people – presuming Scotland continues to do its own thing.

Thirdly, the retail sector is never happy. You could open stores 24 hours a day, as the supermarkets do at Christmas, and they'd still be finding some other reason to moan about why business is tough. Basically, it's because we have no money and the cost of everything has gone through the roof.

This study was run by the Department for Business as part of their Red Tape Challenge for small businesses. But stores largely affected by the Sunday Trading Act of 1994 are those with floorspace of 3,014 sq ft or more, and how many small businesses can boast that sort of acreage?

Looks to me like the Department for Business has had their internet initiative hijacked by the big boys because the other areas of the study – weights and measures and consumer information, for example – received less than 100 responses, and are not generally political hot potatoes.

It'd be great if this idea was given short shrift and a return to something resembling a traditional, quiet Sunday was allowed.

But somehow, I don't think it's gonna happen.