No 'blanket rule' to force WFH government workers back to London offices, says Liz Truss

In his full interview, Simon Harris also asked the prime minister about rail strikes, tackling trade unions and TfL's financial troubles


The prime minister has ruled out a 'blanket rule' to force government workers in London back to their offices.

The number of passengers using buses and Tube trains last week suggested a quarter of London’s commuters now work from home.

Ridership levels released by Transport for London put passenger numbers at around 75% of pre-pandemic levels.

Some Whitehall ministries report even greater levels of home working.

  • The Foreign Office saw just 44% of its staff working in the King Charles St building in the first week of September

  • Almost a third of civil servants in the Department for Transport were also away from the office

Prime Minister Liz Truss arrives for the Conservative Party annual conference in Birmingham

Business leaders have expressed concern at the damage to London’s economy and WFH has contributed to TfL's financial woes.

The prime minister told ITV News the government was working on a plan to encourage civil servants back to their offices but there would be no 'blanket rule'.

"We do want to see more people in Whitehall back in the office that is being worked on," said Liz Truss.

She added: "I think it is important for people to be in the office, but there are some circumstances where working from home makes sense. So, I wouldn't approve of a blanket rule."

She also said new laws would be introduced to protect commuters from disruptive rail strikes.

"I understand how hard commuters find it when the rail unions will have strikes and create industrial action. And that is incredibly frustrating," said the prime minister.

"What we are going to do is legislate for minimum service levels to make sure those essential services are provided, and they can't be disrupted by these militant trade unions," she added.

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