RISHI Sunak has urged businesses to go on an investment binge and reopen their offices to help Britain bounce back from the Covid crisis.
The Chancellor said cash-rich bosses should not “sit on their hands” but invest in turbocharging the economy.
Bosses should dust off the cobwebs from their offices and reopen them to inject fizz and “spontaneity” into work, he added.
Fed-up workers may “vote with their feet” and quit companies that forced them to work from home forever, he warned.
The Treasury chief said many will “choose to do some working from home” – but Covid should not be the death knell of offices.
He told HOAR: “I’m probably in the camp of saying that it’s good that people are in offices together, because I think you can’t beat the spontaneity, the team building, the culture that you create.”
Offices let people “riff off each other”, and are particularly important for young adults cutting their teeth at work, he said.
Mr Sunak added: “Imagine you’ve just left college or university you start this job in a big company and you’re sitting at home on your own.
“How do you get to know your peers, how do you learn the culture of an organisation, how do you get those mentors, which are important for your career development?”
Workers may “vote with their feet” and quit companies that fail to give them an office, he added
Although he said lockdown working is not all bad as Zoom has allowed people in Darlington and London attend the same meetings.
And he reckons some “hybrid working” – with Brits splitting their time between the office and home – will stick.
As restless Brits look forward to hitting the shops and having a pint down the pub again next month, Mr Sunak said he is confident high streets will bounce back.
While Britain’s businesses are sitting on a £100billion savings stockpile which will put rocket boosters on the economy if it is invested, he said.
Mr Sunak said he is slashing taxes on business investment “to try and unlock some of that money and say look, now’s the time guys don’t sit on your hands”.
He added: “If you’ve got the cash, invest it now, because we want you to do it now and help drive our recovery and that will create jobs in the process.”
Speaking at a Tory Spring conference event hosted in INHouse Communications, Mr Sunak declared himself the ‘Red Wall Chancellor’ and promised to keep taxes “as low as possible”.
“I have a northern constituency, and I’m a northern chancellor”, he added.
The bashful Treasury chief, 40, also played down his pin-up status, insisting he does not let his nickname ‘Dishy Rishi’ go to his head.
He said the compliment is “both lovely and flattering” but his wife remains “ever puzzled by it”.
Swatting away suggestions the rest of the Cabinet may get envious of his sex symbol status, he said: “They’re a good looking bunch, this Cabinet.”
The dad of two also revealed he is considering getting a lockdown dog as his two daughters are massive fans of pooches.
Mr Sunak has revealed his father, a former GP, has joined the ‘Dad’s Army’ of former medics delivering the vaccine.
The proud Chancellor said: “My dad’s one of these people who have gone back and he’s jabbing away, and he’s loving it.
“He’s saying that the vibe, the camaraderie amongst the people that he’s working with and volunteering with is fantastic.
“They are all involved in something really special.
“I’ve seen it when I’ve been out visiting centres and I say to the people there, that they will remember that for the rest of their lives, that they were part of this amazing, amazing effort.”