Nicola Sturgeon risks fresh work from home row with Boris Johnson

Nicola Sturgeon urges Scottish people to ‘work from home’ – setting her on major collision course with Boris Johnson’s ‘back to the office’ message AGAIN

  • Nicola Sturgeon said Scottish government is ‘very cautious’ on return to offices
  • The First Minister said ‘we are not encouraging people to rush back to the office’ 
  • Message is very different to Boris Johnson’s who is encouraging people to return

Nicola Sturgeon risked a fresh row with Boris Johnson today after she said the Scottish government is ‘not encouraging people to rush back to the office’. 

The Scottish First Minister said she believes it is ‘very important not to overload ourselves’ and ‘if you can work from home then you should still be working from home’. 

Her message stands in stark contrast to the approach taken by Mr Johnson and the UK Government, with the Prime Minister actively encouraging workers in England to stop working from home. 

Mr Johnson and his Cabinet are increasingly concerned about the impact continued remote working is having on the UK economy amid fears for the future of struggling town and city centres. 

Nicola Sturgeon said this morning the Scottish government remains ‘very cautious’ about workers returning to offices and ‘if you can work from home then you should still be working from home’

Ms Sturgeon told ITV’s Good Morning Britain programme that ‘we would all like to go back to normal completely’ but that at the moment that is not possible, especially after a recent surge in coronavirus cases. 

‘We are still being very cautious and our advice in Scotland is if you can work from home then you should still be working from home,’ she said. 

‘We are not encouraging people to rush back to the office. Notwithstanding the benefits of having people back to the office, to the high streets and businesses.

‘But we think it is very important not to overload ourselves so that keeping the virus under control becomes much more difficult.

‘Our priority over the past couple of months has been to get schools back full time and then to keep schools open and that depends on keeping community transmission of the virus as low as possible. 

‘To put it simply, while we would all like to go back to normal completely, we simply can’t do everything right now. We have got to make choices and we have got to be very clear about what our priorities are.’ 

Ms Sturgeon conceded that her approach to working from home would have economic consequences. 

She said: ‘I am just trying to strike the balance as well as I can. It is not unfortunately a perfect science. 

‘There is not an absolutely right and absolutely wrong way to do this. I am acutely aware of the economic implications of everything we are doing to try to tackle Covid. 

‘But I am also acutely aware that if we lose the battle to keep Covid under control then that’s not good for the economy because we end up going back and having to put parts of our economy back into lockdowns.’

But the Scottish First Minister’s approach is drastically different to Boris Johnson, pictured outside Number 10 this morning, who is actively encouraging workers to stop working from home 

The SNP leader’s comments represent the latest in a long list of disagreements and policy clashes between the Scottish and UK governments during the coronavirus crisis. 

Ms Sturgeon’s stance on working from home is completely different to Mr Johnson who last week told his Cabinet that ‘people are going back to the office in huge numbers across our country and quite right too’.

The PM said that ‘bit by bit this incredible country is getting back on its feet and recovering from this crisis’. 

Guidance on working from home in England changed at the start of August. 

Workers who were able to work from home were advised to do so during lockdown but they are now being encouraged to speak to their employers about returning to workplaces where it is safe to do so. 

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