Just half of DWP Jobcentre staff back in work after back to office push

ONLY a little over half of Department of Work and Pensions Jobcentre staff are back at work after the PM's back to office push.

Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey revealed many of the staff in her department are not yet back at work, after Boris Johnson doubled down on his campaign to get Brits back in offices.

Ms Coffey told BBC Breakfast that "more than half" of staff are "fully back in the offices" at the Department for Work and Pensions.

She said: "Even we have capacity on how many people can be in a Covid-safe environment within our workplace.

Ms Coffey said that 799 of the department's 804 sites are open.

The minister told the programme: "It's important that employers and employees have that discussion about Covid-safe environments."

"I'm confident that with schools reopening, children going back to school there'll be more opportunities for parents to go back into the office if that's what is the best thing for them and their employer."

Former Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt told Sky News it was "proving a bit of a struggle" to get people back to work but that people would miss the "office banter".

Mr Hunt said: "People obviously find its alot more productive if they're not having to commute.

"But as Therese Coffey was saying, the big problem is all those jobs in city centres that depend on people coming back to work."

He added: "There's also a creativity you get, a buzz in an office, which you don't get when you're doing meetings over Zoom or Microsoft Teams.

"There's only so long you can keep working completely remotely before you start losing the kind of fizz and excitement that you get in a really good work place."

Boris Johnson said yesterday people were returning to work "in huge numbers" but pictures of a normally packed City of London showed it was still deserted.

Downing Street could not say how many people had gone back to work to back up the PM's claim.

Mr Johnson's spokesman said: "I don't have the figures especially for today but you can expect to see more civil servants return to the office over the coming weeks with the return of Parliament and children to schools.

"We've been clear with departments that they need to ensure Government workspaces are Covid-secure and permanent secretaries have been undertaking the work to return civil servants to the office or workplace."

Figures from Transport for London show Tube use is still down 72 per cent on the same day last year, and bus use was down 53 per cent on last year.

But both were slightly up, by 8 per cent and 6 per cent respectively, on last week's figures.


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