BORIS Johnson has ditched the work-from-home slogan and urged bosses to get Brits back to the office to save the economy.
The Prime Minister this morning called for the nation to return to “near-normal” to help boost Britain’s ailing economy which has been ravaged by the pandemic.
Speaking at a Downing Street press conference, the PM outlined his framework for a return to business as usual.
He said: “Instead of government telling people to work from home, we’re going to give employers, more discretion and ask them to make decisions about how their staff who work, safely.
“That could mean, of course, continuing to work from home which is one way of working safely and which has worked for many employers and employees.
“Whatever employers decide they should consult closely with their employees, and only ask people to return to their place of work.
“If it is, as we really put our society and economy, it’s right that we give employers more discretion.”
It came during a sweeping speech where Boris unveiled a series of measures to get Britain working.
- Handing councils powers to shut pubs and cafés without going to Government first through “lightning lockdowns”
- Giving the NHS an extra £3billion so hospitals are “battle ready” for winter
- Setting a target of 500,000 tests a day by the end of October
- Putting a time frame on social distancing so the nation can finally have a hug
The measures come despite repeated warnings both in public and private from his scientific experts.
He now risks falling out with the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance and Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty who see no reason to change the current guidance.
Yesterday the Sir Patrick told MPs there was “absolutely no reason” to drop working from home.
He said: “Of the various distancing measures, working from home for many companies remains a perfectly good option because it’s easy to do.
“I think a number of companies think it’s actually not detrimental to productivity. And in that situation, there’s absolutely no reason I can see to change it.”
Boris announced the first lockdown measures back on March 23.
Brits were told only to go travel if it was essential to do so for work.
On May 10, Mr Johnson announced this was being relaxed and encouraged construction and manufacturing workers to head back to work.
The PM today handed councils powers for “lightning lockdowns” so they can shut pubs and cafés without going to Government first.
The rules will allow town hall bosses to ban weddings and other gatherings at short notice.
A Government health source said: “Councils will be able to impose lighting lockdowns where they see fit.”
Leicester became the first city to go into a local lockdown, and now councils will have the power to swoop as soon as necessary elsewhere.
Boris also give the NHS an extra £3billion so hospitals are “battle ready” for winter and ensure a second wave is avoided.
The PM will also set a target of 500,000 tests a day by the end of October so flare-ups can be dealt with swiftly.
A PR blitz will now encourage Brits to get a virus test and promote walk-in testing sites.
The NHS funding comes with fears growing over the virus running riot over the winter.
Coronavirus thrives in the cold and spreads more easily indoors, with doctors concerned it could surge when flu is circulating.
The extra billions will go towards keeping on the Nightingales and private hospital spaces.
No 10 will also carry out a flurry of exercises to “stress test” their NHS winter plans.