More Home Office workers work from home as Jacob Rees-Mogg’s crackdown falters

New data has revealed more Home Office officials are working from home than before the government’s post-Covid crackdown.

Only half of the desks at the Home Office’s Westminster headquarters were occupied in the last week of last month, compared with 61 per cent in February.

On average, 46 percent of desks were occupied during that time, although Jacob Rees-Mogg called for officers to return to their offices after the pandemic.

The Cabinet Office minister has also threatened departments with eviction if they fail to use the desk space available to them by putting staff back to work.

A Whitehall source said the Home Office had been “terrible” to return to work post-Covid.

Priti Patel’s department is one of three departments that had a lower occupancy rate than February in the latest figures.

The others, the Cabinet Office and the Department for International Trade, were at more than 80 percent capacity before the crackdown on work from home began.

The source said: “With unresolved backlogs and poor performance by public services, officials refusing to go to work as they are expected to do are kidding taxpayers.”

Effects of rail strikes revealed

Mr Rees-Mogg launched a war on working from home earlier this year, with senior mandarins being ordered to release figures on how crowded their offices were in order to name and shame the worst departments.

The latest occupancy data shows that almost all departments have brought more staff back to work since the raid began.

The Department for Works and Pensions increased its office occupancy from 32 percent in early February to 56 percent late last month.

The department for corporate, energy and industrial strategy was 59 percent staffed at the end of June, compared with 27 percent earlier this year.

The data also shows the impact of last month’s rail strikes, which saw all departments see a dramatic drop in office staffing as trains and the subway ground to a halt.

Treasury headquarters on Horse Guards was only 44 percent occupied during the week of the strike, compared to 67 percent the week after.

A Home Office spokesman said: “Our staff work tirelessly to provide the public with a quality service, many doing this on the front lines and in offices across the UK. Positions where this is appropriate will have the opportunity to work flexibly as is expected of any modern employer.

“The data relates only to staff at 2 Marsham Street, which represents a minority of Home Office staff.”

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