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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 228

Date:- 28 November 2005

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Britain's shoppers firmly reject extension of Sunday shopping hours

NEARLY two thirds of Britain's shoppers have firmly rejected any extension of Sunday shopping hours for large stores in an independent survey for retail union Usdaw.  The NOP survey found that 62% of shoppers didn't want an extension of the 6 hours large stores are allowed to open on a Sunday.

"This survey proves that shoppers are perfectly happy with 6 hours shopping on a Sunday," says Usdaw general secretary John Hannett. "We commissioned this survey because we wanted to see whether shoppers have any real appetite for large stores to be open longer on a Sunday and clearly millions of consumers don't want more hours.  This level of support proves that the compromise reached in 1994 that stores could open for 6 hours suits shoppers who already have 150 hours a week to spend their money and that consumers are not desperately looking for more hours to spend their money on a Sunday.  We're delighted that we've won the support of a big majority of shoppers because our members are telling us loud and clear they want the present arrangements to stay in place so they can spend at least some quality time with their families one day a week."

The survey also found that 63% of consumers thought that Sunday should remain different to every other day and 75% thought that if large shops were allowed to open all day on a Sunday it would make it like any other day of the week.

"This proves there is overwhelmingly support for keeping Sunday as a day for family and relaxation which is exactly what our members want in what is already a massively deregulated retail sector," John Hannett said.  "Britain's 2.7 million retail workers already work long hours and like nearly everyone else they want to spend at least some of their Sunday with their families so they can achieve a proper work/life balance.  The reality is that if Sundays are deregulated then it will be treated as just another day and we are seriously concerned that the extra premium payments our members get for working unsocial hours on a Sunday will disappear."

The survey results will now be submitted to Trade and Industry Secretary Alan Johnson as evidence for the DTI's cost-benefit analysis on deregulating Sunday trading hours.

"We knew we had a good case to keep the present 6 hour limit but we wanted to show the Minister the cold hard facts that the British public back us too.

Usdaw believes in facts not emotion. We want the Minister to know that there is no popular support for extra shopping hours on Sundays. Our survey shows that shoppers don't want it because they want Sunday to remain different to every other day of the week. Shopworkers are telling us loud and clear they don't want it and we're not even sure a majority of retailers want it. Britain's army of retail workers are grateful for this firm support for keeping Sunday trading as it is and so are their families who will benefit the most." says John Hannett.

It is now 40 years on and still millions of passengers still not belting up!

YES it is now 40 years ago, this very year, when it became compulsory to fit seat belts to the front seats of all cars built in Europe. But, although it became law to wear front seat belts in 1983, and as EU legislation comes into force, new research by finds 1 in 16 drivers still failing to belt up every time.  And it’s not just drivers that are breaking the law.  The  survey reveals 10% of front seat passengers don’t always wear a seat belt. The fixed penalty for not wearing a seat belt is a mere £30.

These alarming findings come as the Government reviews new European Directives as part of the Road Safety Bill currently passing through Parliament. The Bill could raise the fixed penalty notice to £500.

Among back seat passengers, who have been legally obliged to wear seat belts since 1989 for children and 1991 for adults, the findings are even more concerning. According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), 15 front seat occupants are killed annually by the impact of an unbelted rear seat passenger. Yet, only 40% of those questioned  ‘always’ wear a seat belt, while 17% admit to ‘never’ belting up.

When comparing the habits of male and female passengers, it’s clear that women are most likely to wear a seat belt. While 94% of women always buckle up in the front seat, just 86% of men do the same. Moreover, women who consistently obey the law in the back seat (56%) outnumber male passengers who always wear a seat belt (27%) by more than 2 to 1.

Despite the fact that taxi passengers are legally required to wear a seat belt if one is provided, the survey shows a significant number of those who belt up in a car fail to do so in a cab. Just 35% of respondents said they always wear a seat belt in a minicab, while a further 12% wear one ‘most of the time’. In black cabs, passengers are even less likely to obey the law; only 18% always use a seat belt, with 65% admitting they never use one.  Again, in taxis women are most likely to wear seat belts. 28%  of women, but only 9%, always wear a seatbelt in a black cab. Perhaps offering a partial explanation for this, 17% of women are occasionally reminded to belt up by their taxi driver, compared to just 14% of men.

35% of respondents believe that younger drivers, for whom it has always been the law, are more likely to wear their seat belts than the older generation.  However, the research reveals this perception may not match reality. 100% of those over 50 claim they always wear a seat belt when driving compared to 9 in 10 motorists aged 21 to 30. The over 50s also appear more likely to belt up in the back seat with 60% saying they always do so, compared to 30% of 21 to 30 year olds.

Andrew Dunkerley, Marketing Director of commented:- “We’re concerned to learn that, despite the serious consequences, people still aren’t wearing a seat belt every time they travel. It’s particularly worrying that less than half of respondents admitted to always belting up in the back seat. At a crash at 30mph, an unbelted back seat passenger will hit the front seat, and anyone in it, with a force of between 30 and 60 times their own body weight.  If drivers and passengers were to put on a seat belt every single time they travel, lives would be saved. This simple fact should be enough to encourage everyone to belt up. As added motivation, however, motorists should be aware that reducing the number of accidents involving loss of life would also result in lower insurance premiums for all.”

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