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Top mandarin backs Jacob Rees-Mogg's plans to order Whitehall staff to get behind desks

A TOP mandarin has backed plans issued by Jacob Rees-Mogg by ordering Whitehall staff to get behind their desks.

Head civil servant Susan Acland-Hood has told workers they need to return to the office four days a week.

She held an all-staff meeting telling colleagues in the Department for Education to bring to an end their work from home lifestyle.

The orders come as the Cabinet Minister Rees-Mogg threatens to sell off empty government buildings that aren’t being filled.

He even left notes on desks urging civil servants to rip-up their home-working plans.

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi told The Sun on Sunday: “The permanent secretary and I praised the Department, which is full of people who are passionate and focused on delivering the very best outcomes for children.

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“We talked about the community and innovation that comes from being together more in the office, while also recognising the real benefits of flexibility and great national cross-site working that has emerged over the last 18 months.

“People have responded and we are already seeing many more people in the offices, which has been wonderful.”

Staff there have been asked to work in the office 80 per cent of the time where they can but options for flexibility exist.

Cabinet Minister Steve Barclay tasked departments back in January with ensuring offices can return to full occupancy after working from home restrictions were lifted.

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But Ministers have been met with a wave of criticism from unions for ordering workers to get back to the office.

FDA boss Dave Penman, the union for civil servants, has said there is “no rationale” for the move accusing Ministers of not being able to point to productivity losses.

He said there was an “obsession” with bringing flexible working to an end which “increasingly just looks vindictive”.

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