Thursday 1 October 2020 4:05 pm

London can't survive widespread home working, says Tory mayoral candidate

Londoners must get back to their workplaces to save the economic future of the city, according to Tory mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey.

Bailey wrote for City A.M. today that the capital needs to ditch advice from the government and Sadiq Khan that people should work from home where possible, adding that he does not “believe coronavirus is a good reason to put hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk”.

Read more: Tory mayoral candidate calls for TfL to sell Tube station naming rights

Sixty-nine per cent of Londoners are still working from home, compared to just 18 per cent in Paris and 25 per cent in Berlin.

Tube numbers in the capital are also still down by around 65 per cent and footfall on central London’s High Streets is a fraction of normal times, which has in turn imperiled thousands of businesses.

These numbers are unlikely to rise after the government encouraged everyone in England two weeks ago to work from home where possible as the country’s second coronavirus wave began to hit.

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The new recommendation came as people were beginning to slowly repopulate central London offices, after months of working from home.

Bailey said “the more restrictions people face, the more our city is unable to function”.

He added: “If we keep introducing new restrictions on businesses and workers, we’re putting livelihoods at risk — from small businesses to people who were struggling long before coronavirus hit.”

He also took aim at Khan for not doing more to get people back into their workplaces.

The London mayor told City A.M. last month that the capital would not look anything like normal this year, and that offices could not fill up with the government’s current social distancing guidelines.

Khan also said it would be “reckless” to have 100 per cent of people back to their workplaces, without a coronavirus vaccine.

Bailey, on the other hand, said it would be economically reckless for offices to remain empty.

“Businesses are doing whatever it takes to keep Londoners safe and get them back into offices,” he said.

Read more: ‘No time for a show of virility’: Sadiq Khan on getting London moving again

“But their efforts have not been matched by the mayor of London. 

“If I were mayor, I would launch a big campaign to get London moving again.”

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