Many Londoners will need to stay working from home, even as the Government begins to ease lockdown restrictions, according to one of London’s Deputy Mayors.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to announce a plan to loosen rules that have seen most people home-bound since 23 March.
It is not yet clear when changes to the lockdown will be made, but at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, Mr Johnson suggested some tweaks could happen as soon as Monday.
But London’s Deputy Mayor for Fire and Resilience Fiona Twycross – who co-chairs the emergency coronavirus response committee in the capital – said she “can’t see a situation” where many workers aren’t asked to stay home for longer.
Speaking at the London Assembly, the Deputy Mayor said many jobs – like the financial sector based in the City of London and at Canary Wharf – could stay out of office.
But she stressed that London leaders do not know what the Government is set to reveal.
“We have absolutely no idea what is likely to be announced,” she told the GLA Oversight Committee. “We’re basing quite a lot of our assumptions on either leaked or floated ideas in the media.
“Although we’ve been inputing into Government on what we think the impact of different measures would be, we haven’t been part of the discussion in terms of seeing draft documents,” she added.
Green assembly member Sian Berry said she is “worried” that the Government isn’t taking the capital’s unique position into account.
London is more reliant on public transport than other parts of the country, with 500,000 commuters travelling into the city centre by train each day during a normal working week.
“These aren’t people who can cycle their journeys, these are longer distance commuters,” Ms Berry said.
“From a London strategic point of view, if we have a million of those work places in the middle of our city, the transport question then becomes much more serious than whether or not your can distance when you get to work,” she added.
Ms Twycross said all documents produced by the London Strategic Co-ordinating Group about the impact of the pandemic have been shared with the Government.
The Mayor’s chief of staff David Bellamy and City of London Corporation chief executive John Barradell have been holding regular meetings with Number Ten, she said.
The Deputy Mayor said she was confident those office workers who could easily stay working from home would be advised to do so.
“Without knowing what is in those documents, I can’t see a situation in which that isn’t a strong message from Government at the weekend,” she said.