British workers ‘among the worst idlers in the world’ says new book by local MP and Government minister

A BOOK published today and part-written by local MP and Government minister Liz Truss brands British workers as “among the worst idlers in the world”

Britain Unchained was authored by South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss, now an education minister, along with four other Conservative MPs, and also argues that British pupils avoid taking difficult subjects in school.

The book aims to compare the UK to other countries across the world which are experiencing stronger economic growth, in order to draw lessons for future policy.

One chapter of the book, entitled Work Ethic, discusses low productivity in Britain and a perception in the UK that foreign immigrants are prepared to work harder.

It begins: “Once they enter the workplace, the British are among the worst idlers in the world. We work among the lowest hours, we retire early and our productivity is poor. Whereas Indian children aspire to be doctors or businessmen, the British are more interested in football and pop music.”


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Ms Truss said that she was unable to discuss the book since becoming a minister in the recent reshuffle – she won a job in the Department for Education with responsibility for early years schooling.

As well as the British work ethic and the state of public finances when the 2008 crisis struck, the book suggests the country’s education system is fundamentally linked to its current problems and future economic growth.

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It highlights how more students in the UK are abandoning maths and sciences in favour of “easier” options.

“Instead of hard choices, students apply for a degree in media or business, which will often allow for the study of easier A-Levels,” the book reads.

“As with US colleges, science A-Levels are more harshly marked than those in media or sociology, the difference being up to a grade. In a culture of equivalence, where all subjects are deemed equal, students make the seemingly rational choice of going for the easier option.”

But the comments have not been welcomed by the Labour party, who have accused Ms Truss of slandering British workers who are struggling to make ends meet during the recession.

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