WHITEHALL is like a ghost town as civil servants continue to defy orders to return to office.
Government offices had rows of empty desks on Friday – while struggling taxpayers were billed £50m a week for lighting, maintenance and security.
Ministers have asked their officials to take the lead in returning to pre-pandemic working arrangements.
But a week after the order was issued, office floors were empty as employees continued to work from home.
The bright and airy canteen at the Treasury, a spectacular graded building in a prime location, was barely occupied.
Exclusive photos obtained by The Sun on Sunday show the full extent of the stay-at-home culture that persisted in Whitehall after most Covid restrictions were lifted.
Cabinet Office Secretary Steve Barclay called to break free of their reliance on video meetings and get back to their workplace.
More than a week ago, he said: “It is important that we now see the maximum use of our office space made from next week, as we build a strong recovery from the disruption. part of the pandemic.”
But the pictures – taken at 11am on Friday – show his message reaching the ears of the deaf.
Total operating costs for the Treasury’s portfolio of properties, including the historic building in Whitehall, were close to £20 million between 2019-20.
The return of civil servants and other office workers to the office is expected to bring economic benefits to businesses across the country, with sandwich shops and the hospitality sector due to an increase in significantly.
Former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said it was a shame that the department at the heart of the tax and spending regime had so few people at its desks.
“It seems like another case of Westminster telling people ‘Do as I say, don’t do as I do’,” he stated.
Sir Iain added: “It is a shame that so many civil servants in the most important part of government are now absent from their desks.
“Without a doubt, many people are in the comfort of home, perhaps on their Peloton bikes while the people they want to serve are struggling with daily bills.
“Where are all the smart people who come up with those brilliant ideas in the Treasury now? They should return to their desks like the rest of us. ”
https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/17559880/whitehall-empty-civil-servants-home/ Whitehall a ghost town as civil servants continue to defy return to office order