Duncan Smith warns of redundancies on a wide scale as work from home threatens economy

Iain Duncan Smith issues warning over not returning to offices

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Former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith delivered a dire warning that maintaining working from home guidance would jeopardize the UK economy as many hospitality and service industries near office blocks would see their footfall plummet. As a result, many would lose their jobs and meaning some would require government support to remain economically afloat – spelling disaster for the Treasury. The Conservative MP added people were more productive when they were in the office and said creativity was best done when face-to-face.

Debates about working from home have engulfed Westminster as different government departments are split over how to reintroduce civil servants back to the office. 

The Department of Education reportedly only has one in four staff back in the office with the Department of Health now scrapping plans to introduce mandatory days in the office. 

The Daily Mail also reported an unnamed minister proposed cutting civil servants’ pay to encourage them to end working from home as they are given London weighting for their jobs. 

Mr Duncan Smith appeared on LBC to discuss the story and told host Nick Ferrari: “I think it’s important to get this in balance because the civil servants have always had flexible working.

“So often people will sometimes work from home sometimes work from the office, the question really is, should they be able to say no I’m not coming into the office at all.

“And I think that’s going to have to come to an end, by the time we sort of generally get back in September there should now with everyone getting double jabbed be pressure to be in the office more than you’re away from the office and I think that process is the case.

“It is important for lots of reasons we forget that the whole private sector requires in London, particularly, but in other cities like Leeds etc, requires civil servants to be back in their offices.

“Because there’s an ecosystem around them made up of cafes, restaurants, bars, even theatres and other areas that give people jobs.

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“And without people back in their offices, going out for sandwiches you know coffees, that ecosystem collapse, or people will lose their jobs.

“There will literally be redundancies on a wide scale if people don’t come back to the offices – so thinking of others is quite important.”

Mr Duncan Smith added there were practical reasons for people to return to the office as it would enable new starters to be shown the ropes easier. 

Chancellor Rishi Sunak also agreed with this position several weeks ago where he urged Britons to return to the office and recalled his personal experience of making life-long friends and partners while in the work environment. 

Mr Duncan Smith continued: “Secondly, the reality is that we are more creative in offices because you exchange with people in front of you.

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“How do you educate somebody new coming in to start their job if they’re not in the office with you, they can’t see how you work without seeing the mistakes you make.

“So it’s an integral and vital part of what we do and to be in offices for those who have jobs that require it.”

Earlier in Mr Ferrari’s show, Dave Penman of the FDA union which represents civil servants claimed the reports of cutting staff wages was dreamt up to encourage outrage towards civil servants. 

He explained many were eager to return to the office but were awaiting procedures to be put in place, adding the Government should focus on doing its job rather than where their staff sit. 

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