Following the Labour conference in September, Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell announced that the party intended to reduce the average full-time hours to 32 a week. Targeting a change within the decade, Labour stated that the move to a four-day week would cause “no loss of a pay” despite criticism from the party’s rivals.
Mr McDonnell also added that the people should “work to live, not live to work” following the announcement of the policy.
However, according to research by the Centre for Policy Studies, the policy would cost the taxpayer at least £17billion a year.
With an increase on the public sector wage bill, the policy could cause an extra burden on the treasury to replace the hours lost in the public sector.
The study says: “At the very least this shift to a 32-hour working week would mean a £17billion hit to the public sector, even making the most optimistic assumptions.
“It could at worst mean a possible £45 billion hit to the public sector, assuming a fall from 42.5 hours to 32 hours and no increase in productivity.”
Moreover, Paul Johnson, director of the Institute of Fiscal Studies, admitted that with a policy reducing the hours of full-time staff, the extra cost could easily add another £15billion to the public sector bill.
Mr Johnson added: “It’s impossible to put a precise number on the long-run costs to the public sector of reducing full-time hours to 32 hours a week with no loss of pay.
“However, with a public sector pay bill approaching £200 billion a year and with such a policy reducing hours of most full-timers by 10 per cent or more, this could easily add £15 billion.”
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Despite the criticism of the plan, Labour has persisted that a move to a 32-hour week would only be over a gradual period of time and would in fact make the economy more efficient.
A Labour spokeswoman said: “Nobody will be fooled by reports by Conservative-aligned think tanks like the Centre for Policy Studies.”
They also pledged that the party will fund productivity by pushing forward a plan of long-term plan of investment.
The research on the potential implementation of a four-day week comes as Microsoft tested out reducing the working week in their Japan office.
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Reported by The Guardian, Microsoft found that not only did the office become more efficient but also that the employees were happier too.
Today, both Mr Corbyn and Lib Dem leader, Jo Swinson will give speeches where the latter will pledge to insert a £50billion “Remain bonus” for public services over the next five years.
Speaking at the party’s campaign launch today, Ms Swinson insisted that the UK will be given an extra £10billion a year by staying within the EU.
She will reportedly say today: “The Liberal Democrats are the only party standing up to stop Brexit and build a brighter future for the UK.
“Brexit has taken far longer and cost far more than anyone said it would.
“But any form of Brexit will damage our jobs, our economy and our public services, starving them of vital cash as the economy struggles along.”
Continuing the Brexit theme, Boris Johnson has attacked Mr Corbyn over his chaotic Brexit plans ahead of the election next month.
The Prime Minister challenged the Labour leader to finally “come clean” over Brexit.
Mr Johnson also insisted that the public simply want to “to get Brexit done”.
He also concluded: “We need a Parliament that is willing to allow this country to move on – that is why we are holding this election.”
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