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More than half of desks in Britain’s council buildings are empty

More than half of UK council office desks are vacant amid a wave of work-from-home culture

  • The number of registered homeworkers has increased from 1,442 to 5,153
  • The occupancy rate of the buildings was 40% in September, October and November

More than half of the desks in municipal buildings are vacant due to an increase in civil servants working from home, according to new data.

The number of municipal employees whose place of work is listed as their residential address has grown from 1,442 to 5,153 since 2019, according to figures compiled by the TaxPayers’ Alliance in response to freedom of information requests.

The occupancy rate in some council buildings was 40 per cent in September, October and November 2022, but only 7.37 per cent in Stoke on Trent.

Still, 84 of the 114 municipalities that have published their budgets for the next financial year will increase municipal taxes in April by 4.99 percent – ​​the maximum allowed. The average Band D household will see bills rise by £99 a year.

More than half of the desks in municipal buildings are empty due to an increase in the number of civil servants working from home. File image

Elliot Keck of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said: “The rise in home working leaves valuable office space empty. Municipalities should raise funds by selling unused assets or getting employees back to their desks sharply.’

Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg said: ‘It is absurd that a year after the repeal of social distancing rules so many council workers are still at home.’

The Local Government Association said: ‘Councils have long experience managing staff remotely as many staff work away from the office. Flexible working is ultimately good for retention and morale.’