Only one in six workers returns to office despite pleas to do so from Government

Only one in six workers returns to office despite pleas to do so from Government
By MATT OLIVER FOR THE DAILY MAIL

Only one in six workers has returned to the office despite pleas to do so from the Government, according to analysis.

Worker footfall in cities was still just 17 per cent of pre-lockdown levels during the first two weeks of this month, despite guidance giving businesses the freedom to summon staff back to the office, according to the Centre for Cities.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Matt Hancock have all urged people to return to the office to boost the economy.

Staying away: Worker footfall in cities was still just 17 per cent of pre-lockdown levels during the first two weeks of this month

Staying away: Worker footfall in cities was still just 17 per cent of pre-lockdown levels during the first two weeks of this month

Thousands of city centre firms that rely on commuters for custom are feared to be on the brink of collapse because of virus lockdown measures that have kept people at home.

However, analysis by the think tank conducted for Sky News found that in Britain’s 63 largest cities, the change in government guidance had little impact on footfall. In London it stood at just 13 per cent of pre-lockdown levels, while in Cardiff it was 14 per cent, in Edinburgh 14 per cent and Belfast 18 per cent. Central London’s figure budged just 1 per cent higher compared to July, before the guidance was altered.

The Government said in March any workers who could do their job from home should do so.

However from August 1 this was changed to give employers ‘discretion’ over whether staff should come in.

Many major firms have told workers to stay at home, however, with a Mail audit finding several were not expected to welcome them back until next year.

Andrew Carter, of the Centre for Cities, warned shops, restaurants, pubs and other businesses faced ‘an uncertain future while office workers remain at home’.

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