Employees shouldn’t pay to work at home

Letters

Chris Drabble on a suggestion that workers who continue to stay away from the office should pay more tax

Picture of woman working from home, wrapped up in warm clothing, at a laptop
A report from Deutsche Bank’s economic research unit has suggested that people working from home should pay a 5% tax. Photograph: Katherine Anne Rose/The Observer
A report from Deutsche Bank’s economic research unit has suggested that people working from home should pay a 5% tax. Photograph: Katherine Anne Rose/The Observer

Last modified on Thu 12 Nov 2020 23.37 EST

It is, sadly, all too predictable that the “economic research unit” of a bank should suggest that employees working from home should pay more tax, when the lion’s share of savings from this arrangement are in fact made by employers (Staff who work from home after pandemic ‘should pay more tax’, 11 November). While there is a brief mention that this tax could be paid by companies that do not provide workers with a permanent desk, this seems to be an afterthought.

Is this report from Deutsche Bank so one-sided that it ignores the fact that many employees have had their salaries cut in the pandemic, assumes that all employees spend money to get to work (many cycle or walk), and ignores the additional cost of heating at home or lack of space with families? Does it not consider the significant savings that companies will make if they reduce the number of desks that they provide (approximately £40,000 each year per desk in London)?

Is this more about property owners getting worried about empty space in cities? Let’s change our cities for the better – convert empty office space to homes and take our cities back for the people.
Chris Drabble
West Byfleet, Surrey

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