Andrea Leadsom thinks some furloughed staff ‘don’t really want to go back to work’ and people aren’t having it

Former business secretary Andrea Leadsom given damehood

Former business secretary Andrea Leadsom given damehood


It’s fair to say that there are many things which people are looking forward to as lockdown restrictions continue to be lifted – from dancing in a field packed with fellow music lovers at a festival, to club nights returning to their former glory.

Yet Tory politician Andrea Leadsom thinks that for some of those who have been furloughed – as part of a scheme which sees employees placed on leave from work while retaining 80 percent of their wage – they “don’t really want to go back to work” because lockdown has been “great for them”.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions, the South Northamptonshire MP said that “people have, to be perfectly frank, become used to being on furlough”.

“For some people, they’re just terrified, so it’s like, ‘I’ve been on furlough for so long, I really can’t quite face going back to the office’ and employers are rightly saying, ‘well, you need to’.

“So there’s that issue, the mental health issue – the fear of it.

“For other people, it’s like, ‘well actually, being on furlough in lockdown has been great for me – I’ve got a garden, I’ve been able to go out walking every day, I’ve got great vegetables growing, I don’t want to go back to work, maybe I’ll think about part-time or I’m going to retire early’,” she said.

While some have responded to Leadsom’s claims to say she is “absolutely right”, others have criticised the former business secretary’s remarks – with some pointing out that the decisions in fact rest with a person’s employer:

Regardless of what Ms Leadsom thinks, the scheme is due to change at the end of the month, with the 80 percent state subsidy dropping down to 70 percent in July (employers chip in with the remaining 10 percent) before ending in September.

So it won’t be long before everyone returns to work, hopefully – whether they like it or not.

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