Revealed: Huge cost of sending workers back home


return to millions more people working from home would blow a multi-billion pound hole in the economy, according to a leaked government report.

It revealed the scale of the WFH hit to businesses, which bosses are imploring the Government to avoid.

Ministers desperately want to “keep open” London and other cities to stop the recovery being “choked” off so they are pleading with millions to get fully vaccinated against Covid, including booster jabs, to strengthen the nation’s defences.

London minister Paul Scully told the Standard: “As we head towards Christmas, I’d like nothing more than to see London’s pubs, theatres and shops thriving with activity.

“Get the vaccine, book your booster jab and let’s keep this great city of ours open for business.”

He stressed: “This isn’t just about protecting yourself, it’s about protecting London and our freedoms too.” His intervention came as a Treasury document, leaked to Politico London Playbook, put the cost of “Plan B” at between £11 billion to £18 billion if it were in force for five months until the end of March.

The analysis is understood not to have taken into account potential benefits of vaccine passports in boosting consumer confidence, which could help some businesses stay open.

The £18 billion is believed to be a worst-case scenario and the Government would only order it if it was likely that the NHS was in danger of getting overwhelmed by cases and other pressures such as flu hospital admissions.

A government spokeswoman said: “We knew the coming months would be challenging, which is why we set out our autumn and winter plan last month.

“Plan B ensures we are ready, should we need to act, to avoid an unsustainable rise in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.

“The presumptions put forward do not reflect government policy. The data does not currently show that Plan B is necessary — and there is no planned five-month timeline.”


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