‘We must fire up the engines of the economy’: Michael Gove urges Britons to go back to their offices if they can amid fears of jobs bloodbath on high street – as ministers prepare to lift advice against using public transport
- Michael Gove insisted people should now go back into their offices if they can
- The Cabinet minister said it is important to ‘fire up the engines’ of the economy
- Ministers are preparing to lift advice against commuters using public transport
Michael Gove today pleaded with Britons to go back to their offices amid fears of a looming jobs bloodbath on the high street.
The Cabinet minister insisted it is crucial to ‘fire up the economic engines’ again as the country emerges from lockdown.
The call came as the government prepares to relax restrictions on public transport in a bid to encourage the public out of their homes.
It is feared the collapse of the ‘lunchtime economy’ could deal another massive blow to the fortunes of the high street, with warnings that 250,000 jobs could be on the line
Echoing a ralling cry from Boris Johnson on Friday, Mr Gove told Sky News today: ‘We want to see more people back at work on the shop floor in the office where they can be.
Michael Gove told Sky news it is crucial to ‘fire up the economic engines’ again as the country emerges from lockdown
Current lockdown guidance states that people in the UK should avoid public transport where possible, resulting in empty carriages
‘Of course in some cases it is appropriate and convenient for people to work from home, but we want to make sure that where people can add value, where the economy can benefit from people being at work, that they are at work.
‘We want to make sure that the economic engines of this country are fired up again and that’s why the Chancellor made the series of announcements that he made earlier this week in order to make sure that we are in a position to be able to provide people with safety and security at work, to protect their jobs and to guarantee jobs in the future.’
Mr Gove said the pandemic had shown that some roles can be effectively performed from home – and confirmed that civil service jobs may be moved outside London.
At the height of the crisis the government was telling the public to work from home if they can.
But Mr Johnson dramatically reversed that advice on Friday, saying it was time for people to go out to work if they can.
The Department of Transport is believed to be in talks with rail and bus operators about how larger numbers commuters can travel safely.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson (pictured) issued a ‘go back and work if you can’ rallying cry on Friday in a bid to boost the economy
The UK Government is set to ease restrictions on public transport, such as buses, to encourage more people to go back into offices for work
Current UK lockdown regulations state that the public should avoid public transport, with social distancing rules meaning they have been able to handle a fraction of usual capacity.
A Whitehall source told the Sunday Telegraph: ‘It is costing a great deal of money to run all these train services with so few people on them.
‘Different departments are looking at ways to ease in the message of avoiding public transport. The best way to do this, and when, is currently under discussion.’