Norwich is home to workers with longest hours

Click to follow
The Independent Online
THE THREAT of long working hours interfering in family life is greater in Norwich or Cambridge than it is in London, according to new government figures released yesterday.

They reveal that managers in the East of England work the longest hours in the country.

Those who live in Norwich or Cambridge work on average 47 hours and 24 minutes a week, 1hr 12mins more than those who live in London.

Although people in London have, on average, double the commuting time - 40mins compared with 20mins for those outside the capital - those in the East, South-East and South-West still are spending more time "working".

The disparity between working hours is revealed in Regional Trends, the government's annual statistical review published by the Office of National Statistics.

The average for a working week in England is 44hrs 6mins, the greatest in the United Kingdom, while those in Northern Ireland work the least at 42hr 48mins.

The effect of long working hours has caused concern for the government which introduced a new working time directive to limit the working week to 48 hours. However many workers are exempt from the rules, including doctors and drivers.

Bill Morris, general secretary of the Transport and General Workers Union, said yesterday: "The government needs to understand that you can't be the champions of the family and the champions of long working hours at the same time."

Recent research by the Institute of Personnel and Development (IPD) has shown that nearly a third of those who work longer than 48 hours a week feel that it has put a strain on their relationship with their wife or husband. One in eight said that it had led to the break-up of the marriage.

"The British work longer hours than anyone else in Europe and the strain is showing," said Nick Isles, a spokesman for the IPD. "Countries such as Holland and France are moving towards a 35-hour week so that people can spend more time on other important aspects of their lives."

Working in London is still more lucrative, with the average weekly income for men pounds 567 compared with pounds 417 in the East of England.

Business, page 20