Boris Johnson is under fire this week. "Get Britain back to work", senior Tories have told the Prime Minister. A "clear and consistent message" is needed on this and many things for sure.
Grant Shapps said the government would launch a publicity campaign to reassure people, it was now safe to return to the office. The TV and Newspaper campaign will be aimed at reducing the number of people working from home. "People working from home have a higher risk of losing their job", the Transport Secretary added for good measure.
Speaking from his ranch somewhere in the country, Matt Hancock, warned of a second coming of the virus and the possibility of further total shutdown. The Health Secretary claimed he was unaware of the number of his department staff working from home. He cares more about how effectively they are working, than whether they come into the office or not.
Carolyn Fairbairn, Director General of the CBO has warned that commercial centres risk becoming permanent ghost towns unless employees return to the office. Jes Staley, Group Chief Exec of Barclays has suggested the big office block, like the Bank's 7000 seater in London, could become a thing of the past. Yes the tumbleweed could soon be blowing across Canary Wharf, unless commuters get back on track.
Boris Johnson's approval rating has fallen to its lowest level since last October according to a YouGov poll. Just 38% of people had a favourable view of the PM compared to 53% who said they have an unfavourable perspective.
The Prime Minister is not the only one with rating lows. Matt Hancock, Dominic Raab, Gavin Williamson, Priti Patel and Dominic Cummings all have negative ratings. By far, the most popular cabinet minister is Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The furlough scheme and Eat Out to Help Out has been the best way to gain favour with a fickle electorate.
The furlough scheme is due to end in October. How long then will Rishi ride the waves of popularity? This week, Angela Merkel announced the German scheme will be extended to the end of next year. The Chancellor would be wise to head the Teutonic lead, an extension to the end of this year and up until Easter next year would be a wise call ...
The Saturday Economist
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