MPs Are Calling For A Four-Day Working Week To Help Lockdown Recovery
MPs and campaigners are calling for a four day working week to be introduced in a bid to get the economy going again following the coronavirus pandemic.
Urging the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, to consider the proposition, they have penned a letter, arguing that reducing working hours would create more opportunities for the unemployed.
"A four-day week would bring multiple benefits to society, the environment, our democracy, and our economy (through increased productivity)," former Labour Party chairman, Ian Lavery said in the letter, seen by The Independent.
"One of the biggest impacts would be better mental health and well-being across the board with more time available for socialising, family and community.
"Three-quarters of UK workers already supported a four-day working week before the coronavirus pandemic hit, and millions of workers have now had a taste of working remotely and on different hours. It's in no one's interests to return back to the pressure and stress that people were under before this pandemic."
The letter went on to state it "would give many more opportunities to the growing list of unemployed people which already stands at 2.8 million people".
"Shorter working time has been used throughout history as a way of responding to economic crises," the MPs explained.
"They were used as a way of reducing unemployment during the Great Depression of the 1930s, which led to the normalisation of the eight-hour day and the 40-hour week."
It signs off: "We're urging your government to show the same commitment towards a better future for the UK by setting up a similar commission - looking at the range of options and models related to shorter working time which the UK could deploy."
Rishi Sunak has not yet responded to the four day week idea, but it has been backed by former shadow chancellor John McDonnell, Mhairi Black from the SNP and the Green Party's leader, Caroline Lucas.
The concept might seem a little radical, but is also being tipped in other countries following the economic effects of the pandemic.
New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern recently gave employers the green light to consider the idea, and conceded it would "certainly" boost the tourism industry.
We'll just patiently wait for Rishi to make the right choice...
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