Chancellor says going back to the office is 'good for business and good for people'

7 August 2020, 11:51 | Updated: 7 August 2020, 11:52

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

When Chancellor Rishi Sunak was asked to give his "best argument as to why people should back to the office" he told LBC it "is good for business and good for people."

The Chancellor was speaking to LBC's Tom Swarbrick amid calls to extend the furlough scheme with targeted measures to stave off widespread job losses, but he has resisted, saying the support cannot go on "indefinitely".

Mr Sunak told LBC that the guidance on returning to work has "only just changed" but that he agrees with Prime Minister Boris Johnson that is "right that we slowly get our economy back to normal."

When Tom suggested people would no longer want to go back to "sitting on crowded trains" or spending money in coffee shops in the same way they were before, the Chancellor said he thought people will "slowly see, as they return to old habits, that they can do things safely."

Detailing all the precautions businesses are taking to mitigate the risk of coronavirus, the Chancellor said: "all of these things are the new normal, and that's what should give people confidence."

Mr Sunak's comments come just a day after Government Minister Robert Jenricked warned LBC of more job losses and businesses closures unless people return to city centres.

The LBC presenter asked if the new normal was not people working from home and Mr Sunak said it was too early yet to tell, but admitted that it "might be."

He added it was "very early to say what the long term structural impact is" but he said, "clearly at a time when everyone who can work from home has been working from home, we need to get back to most people being in the office again."

He said it would be a move that would be "good for businesses and good for people."

The Chancellor ended by saying people returning to work would be good for the culture of businesses and good for team bonding.

Watch the whole interesting exchange in the video at the top of the page.