Sunday was a day when society turned itself off, rebooted. It was a day for family, friends and neighbours. The day when people got their new things out; I remember the buzz of the first Flymo, admiring glances at a new BMX, watching a video at a neighbour’s house again and again, all with an Instagram haze. Blue skies, hot summers, protests and strikes – but always new technological wonders.
So I wonder if closing shop on Sundays might be the way to kickstart the economy. I don’t believe that, when it comes to the bottom line, shops are taking any more because they’re open on the seventh day. The amount of money in people’s pockets is the same if not less, and people aren’t spending more. It certainly benefits the big traders, as it gives them another competitive edge, but it has a huge impact on the quality of life of small shopkeepers.
And in a culture of working seven days a week and without any leisure time, are people buying the big ticket leisure items?
Would closing all but corner shops and newsagents on a Sunday mean less money in circulation? No.
Would it mean more time and therefore more money spent on leisure goods, from bicycles to beach toys, plants to patio furniture? Just maybe.
Would it mean more time and more money spent in seaside towns, and tourist attractions and elsewhere across the UK’s leisure industry? That’s worth £74 billion, employs more than 1.5 million people and that’s about 4% of the UK’s gross domestic product, by the way. Almost certainly.
And I suspect it would increase the country’s happiness levels no end, and increase community cohesion too. Let’s bring back a day of rest.