The introduction of a four-day week for civil servants would cost the taxpayer £30 billion, Rishi Sunak warns
- Local MP Anthony Browne raised the controversy in the Commons
The introduction of a four-day working week across the public sector would cost £30billion, the Prime Minister was warned yesterday.
Rishi Sunak urged the first town hall to implement the experiment to think again after he was told it had made services worse while costing more.
South Cambridgeshire District Council is allowing all desk-based staff to reduce their hours by 20 per cent without loss of pay for the next year, despite missing important targets to answer phones and process benefits claims.
Local MP Anthony Browne raised the controversy in the Commons for the first time, telling Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday: ‘Liberal Democrat-run South Cambridgeshire District Council is the first in the country to put its staff on a four-day week without any reduction in pay, which has led to a reduction in services and an increase in costs.
‘Yet last week the Liberal Democrats decided to extend the trial to a year.’
Rishi Sunak urged the first town hall to implement the experiment to think again after he was told it had made services worse while costing more
Local MP Anthony Browne raised the controversy in the Commons for the first time
He went on: ‘Now unions are pushing to spread the four-day working week across the public sector, something that the TaxPayers’ Alliance estimates will cost £30billion.’
He asked if Mr Sunak agreed that the public sector should serve the public.
The PM replied: ‘Public servants should rightly focus on delivering for the public and taxpayers.
‘It is disappointing to hear from my honorable friend that his local Liberal Democrat council is not doing that – instead reducing, as I have heard, staff contact hours and costing residents more. I urge the council to reconsider.’
The TaxPayers’ Alliance calculated that pay for public sector workers stood at £235.5billion in 2021-22. If they moved to a four-day week, it said that the annual cost of the ‘working time lost’ would be £29.6billion.
The campaign group said extra staff would have to be recruited to maintain services, at huge cost, otherwise standards would deteriorate significantly.
In another potential blow to the economy, a think tank has found that workers in the capital are spending on average 2.3 days a week in the office.
Centre for Cities found office attendance in London was about 60 per cent of pre-pandemic levels but warned the economy may be suffering as a result.
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