The Government has no plans to force people back to the office, a senior minister has assured workers.

Amid confusion over Number 10’s approach to home-working post-freedom day, policing minister Kit Malthouse said there will be a consultation on more flexible working going forward.

Boris Johnson is understood to be keen to encourage people to abandon their home office in favour of the real thing once lockdown restrictions are lifted next month.

It’s hoped getting people back to the daily commute will help aid businesses in deserted city centres.

But scientists are likely to recommend that home-working continues as it is seen as a cheap and risk-free way of keeping the spread of the virus in-check.

Millions of people have adjusted to home working over the past 18 months and multiple polls have shown there is little desire for going back to the office full-time.

Mr Malthouse told Sky News this morning: ‘This is a situation for employers and employees to discuss and negotiate themselves.

‘I know there has been some media about this over the last two or three days, we don’t have any intention to make it compulsory to return to the office.

Policing minister claims no intention of making return to office 'compulsory'

‘Our manifesto at the last election did contain a pledge to consult on more flexible working to allow people to work from home should they wish to, and we will be doing that later on this year.’

Proposals being considered by the Government to boost flexible working include enshrining the rights of employees to request changes to their place of work at the start of their contract.

But Downing Street has said there are no plans to introduce a legal right to work from home.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: ‘We’ve asked people to work from home where they can during the pandemic but there are no plans to make this permanent or introduce a legal right to work from home.’

Experts have said there is no need for Government intervention as businesses will be able to work out what arrangements suit their needs.

Kate Shoesmith, deputy chief executive of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, said: ‘Businesses and workers across the UK have proven that long-term remote working is possible and beneficial for some of us.

‘It’s right that employees should have the right to request flexible working arrangements. However, remote working won’t be the best policy for everyone. Individual employers should think seriously about what is best for their business and consult with their employees before deciding their stance on remote or flexible working.

This is a business conversation with their people, it does not need intervention from Government.’

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