Dominic Raab pleads for Britons to get back to the office


‘It is damaging the economy’: Dominic Raab pleads for Britons to get back to the office – but civil service is still advertising jobs working from home

  • Dominic Raab has issued a fresh plea for UK workers to get back to the office 
  • Foreign Secretary said shifting away from remote working key to the recovery
  • Whitehall departments are still advertising jobs that are working from home 

Dominic Raab today issued a fresh plea for Britons to get back to the office – despite the civil service still advertising jobs working from home.

The Foreign Secretary warned that remote working is ‘damaging to the economy’ as he insisted a ‘controlled’ return would help the country ‘bounce back’. 

But MPs have accused Whitehall bosses of making a ‘mockery’ of the government’s push by advertising ‘work from home only’ jobs.

The Ministry of Defence, the Department of Health, Public Health England and the Food Standards Agency are among those advertising work from home only jobs. 

Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Mr Raab pointed to good news about the strength of the recovery, with Amazon investing in new jobs and the Bank of England hopeful of a sharp uptick in GDP. 

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show (pictured) that remote working is ‘damaging to the economy’ as he insisted a ‘controlled’ return would help the country ‘bounce back’

MPs have accused Whitehall bosses of making a 'mockery' of the government's push by advertising 'work from home only' jobs. Pictured, Whitehall last week

MPs have accused Whitehall bosses of making a ‘mockery’ of the government’s push by advertising ‘work from home only’ jobs. Pictured, Whitehall last week

But Mr Raab said of remote working: ‘It’s damaging to the economy. We’ve seen in lockdown a massive shrinking of the economy. We are trying to bounce back as strongly as possible… 

‘The important thing is, yes, of course we’re going to all do a bit more remote working in the future, but it does make a difference. 

‘The economy needs to have people back at work, unless – and this is really important – unless there’s a good health reason why it shouldn’t happen, or unless the employer can’t put in place the covid-secure workplace that we all need. 

‘But employers are doing that and I think it is important to send the message that we need to get Britain back up and running, the economy motoring on all cylinders.’ 

However, the message was at risk of being muddled after adverts uncovered by the Mail on Sunday showed Whitehall departments are putting up recruitment adverts saying office work will not resume any time soon. 

MPs said it ‘deliberately undermined’ Government efforts to get Whitehall working.

One advert read: ‘Due to the ongoing Covid-19 situation, you will initially be required to work from home with no travel required.’ 

Applications for the jobs close in mid or late September, suggesting Whitehall has plans to continue working from home for months.

Steve Baker, the Conservative MP, said: ‘What an extraordinary situation. Public service extends to leading the country in the right direction at all levels. And that should mean Civil Service hiring managers planning to bring people into their offices. 

‘How anyone could be pulling in the wrong direction like this, at this time, I really cannot imagine.

‘It makes a mockery of Ministers and backbenchers trying to encourage our constituents back to work. Michael Gove [Cabinet Office Minister] and Dominic Cummings [the Prime Minister’s senior aide] need to get a grip and persuade the Civil Service to set an example.’

Last week the Cabinet Secretary wrote to all Whitehall ministries setting a target to get 80 per cent of staff to attend their usual workplace each week by the end of September.

Tory MP Steve Baker said the job adverts 'makes a mockery of Ministers and backbenchers trying to encourage our constituents back to work'

Tory MP Steve Baker said the job adverts ‘makes a mockery of Ministers and backbenchers trying to encourage our constituents back to work’

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