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Michael Gove: Public ‘expect’ council staff to work full five-day week

Michael Gove has said people “expect” council staff to be working a full five-day week, amid a row over the government telling a local authority to cease a four-day week trial.

The levelling up secretary has said he is a “strong believer” in the rule that council employees should be working Monday to Friday.

It comes after ministers ordered the Liberal Democrat-run South Cambridgeshire District Council to end its experiment with a four-day week.

Speaking at the Local Government Association (LGA) conference in Bournemouth, Gove said: “I believe very strongly, as indeed does the minister for local government, that when taxpayers are paying for services, they need to have people working a full five-day week.

“It seems to me for every penny paid in council tax, we deserve, all of us, to see those in local government working a full working week for those who are council taxpayers as well.

“I’m a strong believer that a five-day working week is what so many other citizens are facing, and they need to work five days in order to be able to pay their council tax and other needs.

“A five-day working week seems to me to be what we should expect of people in public service who are having their wages paid by those council taxpayers.”

Gove’s remarks come after the LGA warned councils face a £3bn funding gap just to maintain existing levels of services, amid a spiralling inflation crisis.

Pete Marland, resources board chairman, said: “Inflation, the national living wage, energy costs and increasing demand are all adding billions onto councils just to keep standing still.”

A government spokesman said ministers would look at council funding ahead of next year’s budget “as we do every year to ensure councils can continue to deliver vital services”.

They added: “We have also provided multi-year certainty to local government, outlining spending over the next two years to allow councils to plan ahead with confidence.”

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Michael Gove: Public ‘expect’ council staff to work full five-day week

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