Dominic Raab yesterday urged workers to return to the office to get the economy ‘firing on all cylinders’ again.
The Foreign Secretary admitted there will be more remote working even after the coronavirus threat has passed.
But he warned that the country was in the middle of a ‘severe economic downturn’ and it would help if fewer people worked from home now that the virus is receding.
Dominic Raab yesterday urged workers to return to the office to get the economy ‘firing on all cylinders’ again
Raab warned that the country was in the middle of a ‘severe economic downturn’ and it would help if there were fewer people working from home
Fewer than one in six workers in cities have returned to the office – fuelling fears over the survival of cafes, pubs and restaurants.
But a poll at the weekend suggested attitudes were changing. It found 54 per cent believed it was worth the risk of travelling back to work to avoid an economic crash, the Sun on Sunday found.
In an interview at the weekend, Boris Johnson said he wanted to avoid a second nationwide lockdown, comparing it to a ‘nuclear deterrent’.
He told the Sunday Telegraph that he ‘certainly’ does not want another blanket shutdown and ‘nor do I think we will be in that position again’.
On Friday, the Prime Minister changed Government guidance that people should work from home if they can and said employers should be free to decide whether they needed staff back.
The new guidance states that from August 1, employers can urge workers to come back to their office so long as it is Covid-secure.
Mr Raab said yesterday on BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show: ‘What we have said is from August 1, while we’re carefully monitoring the virus, we do need to get the economy back firing on all cylinders as best we can.
‘We know we’re in the middle of a severe downturn. And so we’re making sure, with employers, that they’ve got the Covid-secure workplaces in place and we’ve had great co-operation from business.
‘And we’re also saying to employers – you’ve got this remote working facility, we know that’s important. I think we’ll all do a bit more remote working in the future.
‘But we also trust employers to say, ‘Actually, do you know what? We do need more people coming back to work’. And therefore we’re giving them that discretion. I think that’s right.’
Boris Johnson told the Sunday Telegraph that he ‘certainly’ does not want another blanket shutdown and ‘nor do I think we will be in that position again’
Some of Britain’s largest employers say they will allow staff to work from home for months to come.
In London, only one worker in eight has gone back. In the City, just 800 of Goldman Sachs’ 6,000 London staff have returned.
Fewer than 2,000 of the 12,000 at JP Morgan are back. The figures come from an analysis of mobile phone data in 67 cities by the Centre for Cities think-tank on behalf of the Times.
The data suggests that Basildon in Essex has seen the highest proportion of staff go back, at 49 per cent, and Edinburgh the least at 12 per cent.
Workers in the biggest cities are the least likely to have returned amid fears over the risk of long commutes on public transport.
The figures correspond with official data showing that rail services were operating at only 16 per cent capacity. The roads are back to 86 per cent of normal levels.
Andrew Carter, of Centre for Cities, said: ‘Many office workers understandably will continue to work from home even as Covid-19 restrictions lift, and whilst this may well be the right decision for them as individuals, for the national economy the sum of these decisions will have a cost.’
Half-price at 30k eateries
Almost a quarter of restaurants have signed up in one week to offer half-price meals in August.
Diners who eat out on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays next month will have half of their bill covered by the Government, up to £10 per head.
Some 30,500 of the 130,000 venues eligible for the Eat Out to Help Out scheme have said they will take part since registrations opened last Monday. Any restaurant, cafe or pub serving food for consumption on its premises can apply via the Government website to offer the discount.
Chains which have signed up include All Bar One, Browns, Burger King, Frankie & Benny’s, Harvester, Nando’s, Pizza Hut, Toby Carvery and Wagamama.
The Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the scheme to boost the hospitality industry in his economic update this month.