Friday 28 August 2020 7:50 am

Coronavirus: Government to launch back-to-work campaign

Brits will be encouraged to get back to the office as part of a new government campaign set to launch next week.

The campaign will promote the advantages of returning to work and seek to reassure employees about the safety measures being taken to halt the spread of the virus.

Read more: UK firms must return to the office to revive the economy, says CBI boss

The productivity push, which will coincide with the reopening of most schools in England and Wales, is expected to be aired primarily through regional media.

Speaking to LBC radio this morning, transport minister Grant Shapps said: “Our central message is pretty straightforward: we are saying to people it is now safe to return to work.”

The move comes after business leaders warned of the devastating impact of a protracted decline in footfall and urged the government to encourage people to return to the office.

Recent analysis showed just 17 per cent of people had returned to work in the UK’s 63 largest cities — unchanged from June when the lockdown started to lift.

CBI boss Dame Carolyn Fairbairn yesterday warned that cities risked becoming “ghost towns” and said a return to work was vital for reviving the economy.

Top Tory MP Sir Graham Brady also backed the calls, urging ministers to give people a “clear and consistent message” that it is safe to return.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has shifted the government’s messaging away from home working, but until now has stopped short of backing a full return to work.

Read more: Eight out of 10 UK workers expect to return to the office this year

However, chancellor Rishi Sunak is said to have raised concerns about further job losses and the financial impact of running near-empty trains and buses.

“Once the schools go back we will be switching our attention to getting people back to their workplaces. It will be a call to arms to the nation,” a minister told the Telegraph.