England only UK nation not to encourage working from home

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It is safe for people in England to go into the office, the Prime Minister’s spokesman said, as people in other UK nations were urged to work from home to curb the spread of the new coronavirus variant.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Monday reminded people to “work from home if possible”, as six cases were confirmed there. The advice is the same in Northern Ireland.

In Wales, working from home is encouraged under current guidance.

On Monday the PM’s spokesman said it was up to employers to decide on the “right balance” for them, when it came to whether staff worked from home or the office.

Jurisdiction over coronavirus restrictions is devolved, meaning Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s policies apply to England, and may differ from the rules elsewhere in the UK.

Asked whether employers were still being encouraged to get people back into the office, the PM’s spokesman said: “Our position has not altered from what it was previously.

“We (are) obviously keeping the evidence of this variant under review and we will take action if necessary, but currently we don’t think there are any other changes required.”

He added: “In line with the guidance, we’ve said that it is safe for people to return to work. It is up to individual employers to decide what is the right balance for (them).”

Asked if the Government viewed Scotland’s decision to ask people to work from home as disproportionate, the spokesman said: “It’s up (to) the Scottish government to decide what approach they think is suitable.”

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