The Chancellor of the Exchequer has been urged to consider a four-day working week by MPs, to help kick start the economy.
Rishi Sunak has received a letter signed by former shadow chancellor John McDonnell and Green MP Caroline Lucas calling for the introduction of a four-day working week.
It sounds pretty ideal to us!
The letter argues that reducing working hours provide greater opportunities amid growing levels of unemployment, the Independent reports.
It comes after New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, suggested employers could consider a four-day working week in response to the Covid-19 crisis in order to boost the economy, specifically the tourism industry.
In their letter to the Treasury, MPs said: “A four-day week would give many more opportunities to the growing list of unemployed people which already stands at 2.8 million people.”
It continues: “Shorter working time has been used throughout history as a way of responding to economic crises. 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.”
Campaigners believe that a ‘shorter working time presents itself as one of the best options for fundamentally restructuring the economy so that work is shared more equally’.
Back in December, the Labour party considered a policy of a 32-hour working week with no loss of pay to be delivered within ten years.
Former Labour Party chairman Ian Lavery – who has also signed the letter – added: “A four-day week would bring multiple benefits to society, the environment, our democracy, and our economy (through increased productivity).
“One of the biggest impacts would be better mental health and wellbeing 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 also makes reference to Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, who said in May that proposals for a four-day working week are ‘no longer things we should be just talking about’.
She added: “these are things we should be encouraging employers to look at embracing and there are a whole range of things that fall into that category”.
A four-day working week looks to boost employee satisfaction, company commitment and teamwork, while it also can simultaneously decrease stress levels.
Research has found that a four-day working week doesn’t harm productivity levels or company output.
The letter to Mr Sunak, which has over 20 signatures, concludes: “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.”
Are you for or against a four-day working week? Let us know!
Liz Truss says British workers need ‘more graft’ and lack ‘skill’ of Chinese workers
She was also heard saying workers outside of London have less productivity
Conservative leader frontrunner Liz Truss has been criticised after saying British workers need ‘more graft’ and lack the ‘skill and application’ of their foreign counterparts.
Just two weeks on from the backlash surrounding her plan to cut the pay of public sector workers in the north, audio obtained by The Guardian heard Truss discussing the work ethic and attitude of British workers and comparing them to those of foreign workers.
During her discussion, said to have taken place five years ago when she was the chief secretary to the Treasury, Truss could be heard saying: “I once wrote a book about this which got mischaracterised… British workers produce less per hour than … and that’s a combination of kind of skill and application.
“If you look at productivity, it’s very, very different in London from the rest of the country… this has been a historical fact for decades.”
She continued: “Essentially it’s partly a mindset and attitude thing, I think. It’s working culture, basically. If you go to China it’s quite different, I can assure you.
“There’s a fundamental issue of British working culture. Essentially, if we’re going to be a richer country and a more prosperous country, that needs to change… But I don’t think people are that keen to change that.
“There’s a slight thing in Britain about wanting the easy answers. That’s my reflection on the election and what’s gone before it, and the referendum – we say it’s all Europe that’s causing these huge problems, it’s all these migrants causing these problems. But actually what needs to happen is more… more graft.
“It’s not a popular message.”
A source from Truss’s team has attempted to downplay the audio, telling The Guardian: “These half-a-decade-old comments lack context but one thing that is as clear today as ever before is a need to boost productivity, which leads to higher wages and a better quality of life for workers right across the UK.
“As prime minister, Liz will deliver an economy that is high wage, high growth and low tax.”
However, when questioned about the audio during a Tory leadership hustings in Perth, Truss appeared to confirm she still believed British workers were not as productive as they should be.
When asked whether she stood by her remarks, Truss said: “I don’t know what you’re quoting there [but] what we need in this country is more productivity and we need more economic growth.”
Andy Burnham confirms bus fares will be capped at £2 a journey from next month
Passengers aged between sixteen and eighteen will also travel for free under the reform
Bus fares across Greater Manchester will be capped at £2 a journey and £5 a day from September, Andy Burnham has confirmed today.
In a tweet this morning, the mayor described his announcement as ‘a glimmer of light in tough times’, before revealing the new bus fares will come into force from the first full working week in September.
The fare changes will include:
- £2 max single fare for adults.
- £1 max for under-sixteens.
- £5/£2.50 unlimited travel in any day.
- Free travel for passengers aged between sixteen – eighteen.
These new fares will be valid on all routes across Greater Manchester, regardless of the operator.
In a follow up tweet, Burnham said the cheaper fares will be paid for by ‘more people using buses’, before pointing out that many are ‘a third or half full at the moment’.
The mayor first unveiled plans to bring Greater Manchester’s buses back under public control in March this year, with a promise to introduce the new fares in 2023 and 2024.
These plans were swiftly fast-tracked and, while the initial plan was for a gradual roll-out across the region, it was then announced that passengers across the whole of Greater Manchester would benefit from the new fares at the same time.
Burnham previously revealed that the £5 fare will enable passengers to travel from when they buy the ticket until 3.59am the following day, and will be valid for use across various operators. Currently, a daily fare costs £6.40.
However, the maximum £2 for a single journey fare will only work for a single operator, with the London-style ‘Hopper’ fare unveiled in the first announcement currently on hold.
These capped fares come as part of Burnham’s Bee Network vision, which will see Greater Manchester’s public transport system combine trains, trams and buses in an in-sync timetable.
Walking and cycling will also be integrated in an attempt to create a modern, sustainable, and accessible model for the people of Greater Manchester.
Pop Idol singer Darius Campbell-Danesh dies aged 41
Pop Idol singer Darius Campbell-Danesh has died at the age of forty-one, his family have announced today.
The ‘Colourblind’ singer was found dead in his US apartment in Minnesota on August 11th. The cause of his death is not yet known.
His family said in a statement: “It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Darius Campbell-Danesh.
“Darius was found unresponsive in bed in his apartment room in Rochester, Minnesota, on August 11th and was pronounced dead in the afternoon by the local medical examiners’ office.
“The local police department have confirmed that there were no signs of intent or suspicious circumstances. The cause of his sudden death is unknown at this stage while medical examinations continue.
“We ask that you kindly respect our wishes for privacy at this time whilst we come to terms with the tragic loss of our son and brother.”
Darius first rose to fame in 2002 as a contestant on the ITV singing contest Pop Idol, with him eventually coming in third place behind Will Young and Gareth Gates.
The Scottish singer achieved number one in the UK later that year with his single ‘Colourblind’, while his album Dive In reached the top ten.
Darius then went on to enjoy a successful career on the stage, with him appearing in ‘Chicago’ as Billy Flynn in two runs of the production, as well as ‘Guys and Dolls’, ‘Gone With the Wind’ and many more in the West End.
In 2010, he made returned to television by competing in ITV’s Popstar to Operastar, with him eventually winning.
Darius previously told The Scotsman in 2014 that he was used to overcoming doubts, and always relied on the advice his father gave him as a youngster.
He said: “Anything is possible if you want it enough and if you’re willing to work hard enough at it and if you don’t give up on it. It can seem overwhelming when you set any challenge and I’ve been told many times in my career that things have not been possible.”