Treasury civil servants will be allowed to work from home indefinitely in a blow to Rishi Sunak’s credibility.
Job adverts for roles at HM Treasury reveal that staff will be allowed to work from home in a hybrid pattern on a permanent basis, spending an average of two to three days a week in the office.
The news comes after Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak repeatedly encouraged workers to return to offices, telling young people that they must go to the workplace to progress in their careers.
Last month high level discussions were held about docking the pay of civil servants who did not come back to the workplace. The adjustment of £4,000 per year given to civil servants who live in the Capital was apparently lined up for the chop as government departments sought to lure employees back.
While official work from home guidance was lifted on July 19 many workers have been reluctant to return to offices. Google Mobility data suggests that workplace occupancy in Westminster is still 19 per cent lower than baseline levels, harming the performance of businesses in the city centre.
The Treasury’s move to hybrid working also raises doubts about plans to open a new Treasury North centre in Darlington. If staff are likely to be out of the office for the majority of the working week then shifting 750 senior civil service staff to the North of England, as planned, would become a futile exercise.
Of about 484,000 government workers, 21 per cent are based in London with each government department allowed to take its own decision on how to manage flexible working arrangements.