Half a mile from the office of MP Steve Barclay - who urged people to start working again from their offices - the ‘stay home, save lives’ signs remain in place
PUBLISHED: 17:29 30 August 2020 | UPDATED: 17:44 30 August 2020
MP Steve Barclay believes that people should start working again from their offices which is “best for the economy” as the country recovers from the coronavirus lockdown
In an interview with Times Radio he said the Government was keen to get people “back into their office; we think that’s best for the economy, to get back to normal as part of our recovery”.
But less than half a mile from his constituency office in March, Cambridgeshire, the town has an altogether different message for those considering a return to normal.
On the Wisbech Road out of town – and before the roundabout to the A141 – signs either side offer a more compelling choice.
The yellow official looking signs with black print ask drivers coming into or leaving the town: “Is your journey essential? Stay at home. Save Lives!”
Local councillor Jan French, whose home is nearby, says she has no idea why the signs are still up. She believes they were put up by the county council at the height of the pandemic.
Town clerk Clive Lemmon was not aware of them at all: he has hardly been out since lockdown began in March.
And although he stays busy, there is no sign on the town council website of life returning to normal. It still says Cllr Rob Skoulding is mayor for 2019/2020 even though the new mayor, Cllr Kim French, took over in May at a virtual meeting of the council conducted over Zoom.
At Fenland Hall, March, and home to the district council, many staff are still working from home and councillors have been told the Government expects virtual meetings to continue until May. On their website the council also points out that “our customer service centres are currently operating on an appointment only basis”.
Mr Barclay’s return to work comes plea against concerns by trade union and commerce bosses that people need to feel safe and comfortable before doing so.
The NE Cambs MP, and Chief Secretary to the Treasury, told Times Radio that he had been impressed by the number of businesses making their workplaces safe.
He accepted that for flexible work patterns would be likely to continue, a consequence he said of the pandemic now finding new ways to work.
“Technology and how we use that to drive productivity is a good thing,” he said. “So, there will be changes in the way business operate.
“But at the same time there are some staff who want to get back into the office.”
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