BRITAIN’S economy is being damaged by people refusing to return to the office, Dominic Raab warned this morning.
The Foreign Secretary said the nation’s finances are depending on Brits returning to workplaces and helping boost economic growth.
He said: “It’s damaging to the economy as you’ve seen in lockdown (there was) a massive shrinking of the economy.
“The important this is yes we’re all going to do a bit of remote working in the future.
“But it does make a difference, the economy needs to have people back at work unless there’s a good health reason why it shouldn’t happen.
“Or unless the employer can’t put in a good Covid secure workplace as (staff) need, but employers are doing that and I think it is important to send the message that we need to get the economy up and running.”
Mr Raab said the Government had been working closely with the public and private sector to make sure the return to work was “carefully controlled” and all workplaces were safe.
The return of children to schools after six months out of classrooms was “hugely important” for the economy, Mr Raab said, as it will help more parents get back to work.
Mr Raab’s comments come as the PM is having a stand off with the FDA union boss, which represents civil servants, over getting Whitehall staff back to work.
Boris Johnson demanded last week that civil servants lead by example by heading back to the office, and staff were told 80 per cent of staff should be back behind desks atleast two days a week.
But Whitehall leader Dave Penman said the PM was on a “fool’s errand” if he thinks staff will flock back.
He claimed the pandemic had sparked an “industrial revolution” of home-working — and that there was no turning back.
Last week, the ONS said that the proportion of people working from home exclusively had halved from 38% at the peak in mid-June to just 20% in the last week of August.
And stats released on September 4 found that 57% of working adults in the UK reported travelling to work (either exclusively or in combination with working from home) in the past week, while 20% worked only at home.