A book to be published today, part-written by a Norfolk MP and minister, brands British workers as “among the worst idlers in the world”.

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Britain Unchained was authored by South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss, now an education minister, along with four other Conservative MPs, and also argues that British pupils avoid taking difficult subjects in school.

The book aims to compare the UK to other countries across the world which are experiencing stronger economic growth, in order to draw lessons for future policy.

One chapter of the book, entitled Work Ethic, discusses low productivity in Britain and a perception in the UK that foreign immigrants are prepared to work harder.

It begins: “Once they enter the workplace, the British are among the worst idlers in the world. We work among the lowest hours, we retire early and our productivity is poor. Whereas Indian children aspire to be doctors or businessmen, the British are more interested in football and pop music.”

Ms Truss told the Eastern Daily Press yesterday that she was unable to discuss the book since becoming a minister in the recent reshuffle – she won a job in the Department for Education with responsibility for early years schooling.

As well as the British work ethic and the state of public finances when the 2008 crisis struck, the book suggests the country’s education system is fundamentally linked to its current problems and future economic growth.

It highlights how more students in the UK are abandoning maths and sciences in favour of “easier” options.

“Instead of hard choices, students apply for a degree in media or business, which will often allow for the study of easier A-Levels,” the book reads.

“As with US colleges, science A-Levels are more harshly marked than those in media or sociology, the difference being up to a grade. In a culture of equivalence, where all subjects are deemed equal, students make the seemingly rational choice of going for the easier option.”

But the comments have not been welcomed by the Labour party, who have accused Ms Truss of slandering British workers who are struggling to make ends meet during the recession.

The new parliamentary candidate for Norwich North, Jessica Asato, said: “Thousands of shift workers in Norwich who work so hard just to put a meal on the table for their kids will be offended by the claim that they are idle. Liz Truss is merely detracting attention from the true cause of the double dip recession which Britain is now facing; it was made in Downing Street by the Tory-led government and its failed economic plans.

“To blame hard working Britons for being idle is shocking.”

What do you think? Write to EDP Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email EDPletters@archant.co.uk.

joseph.watts@archant.co.uk

16 comments

  • Cyril the Canary - You are right that it is wrong to stereotype all British workers as lazy but it is equally wrong to ignore the fact that many are quite content to idle their lives away living off the backs of others. Peoples anger should not be directed at her but at successive governments who have created the benefits culture which has become an alternative to finding a job.

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    BG

    Friday, September 14, 2012

  • BG she didn't say British benefits claimants, she said British workers! I just wish these people who compare Britain unfavourably to India and China would go off there permanently and see how their politics go down in those countries!

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    Cyril the Canary

    Friday, September 14, 2012

  • So a New Millennium Tory is happy to promote a stereotype that all British workers are lazy. Some Twentieth Century Tories were happy to promote the stereotype that all Liverpool football fans were drunken yobs. It's the same old, same old, negative attitude.

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    Cyril the Canary

    Thursday, September 13, 2012

  • This is old news being recycled. Not that I am accusing the EDP of being politically biased of course.

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    andy

    Thursday, September 13, 2012

  • She's perfectly placed to talk about 'idlers', I think there are a lot of people who'd like to know what she did for her electorate regarding the incinerator once she became their MP for SW Norfolk? As for "British pupils avoid taking difficult subjects in school" - what constitutes a 'difficult subject' in a pupil's mind is not only unique to that pupil but also dependent on a range of factors. Well done Cameron, she joins Osborne et al as yet another given a job they are incapable of understanding. What will her next book be about, How to get promoted beyond your level of competence?

    Report this comment

    Honest John

    Saturday, September 15, 2012

  • "Liz Truss is merely detracting attention from the true cause of the double dip recession which Britain is now facing; it was made in Downing Street by the Tory-led government and its failed economic plans." Erm, no!! It was caused by the grossly profligate Labour administration which wasted vast amounts of money, resulting in this country having a phenomenal debt burden! And Labour are now trying to abrogate responsibility for the financial problems of the UK, by seeking to create a smoke screen behind which they can hide their appalling financial record!!

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    jayprime

    Thursday, September 13, 2012

  • The Labour party will have nothing said about its core voters so their comments come as no surprise. The programme on Panaroma the other night typified what passes for the British way of life nowadays. I.E. the many who derive their income from the state and have no intention whatsoever of finding a job. One woman in receipt of £1100 a month benefits was really annoyed about having to go to the job office as it stopped her from doing what she wanted i.e. going up town shopping.

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    BG

    Thursday, September 13, 2012

  • Funny that. Sleeping one's way to the top seems to have worked for Ms Truss. Ask Mr Field shall we?

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    ThePresence

    Thursday, September 13, 2012

  • "Ms Truss told the Eastern Daily Press yesterday that she was unable to discuss the book since becoming a minister in the recent reshuffle" -- how extraordinary. Given her ministerial appointment, doesn't it make it all the more important that she comments further on some of the things she has said in the book?

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    Trevor Ashwin

    Friday, September 14, 2012

  • this comes a day after sky news reported that thousand more british people had joined the ranks of part time working in this country . Look at the house of commons night time when one person is speaking the chambers are near on empty . Where are all these mps . elizabeth truss . Why has the coalition still got a policy of mass immigration when we have millions unemployed and a huge housing crisis . We have over 1 million youth unemployment in this country

    Report this comment

    milecross

    Thursday, September 13, 2012

  • This woman really is a piece of work. I heard her saying as much on the radio the other week, as I was returning home exhausted at 9pm after a 14 hour working day. I don't really understand what she is trying to do with this attitude. It demotivates people like me, and falls on deaf ears for the minority it does apply to - a minority that is probably equally prevalent in any country! Trouble is, we're stuck with this monstrous woman for a generation as the great people of South West Norfolk will never vote her out even if she insults every single person who lives there.

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    Tom Jeffries

    Thursday, September 13, 2012

  • Mile - The reason we have so many part time workers is primarily down to Labour`s over generous benefit system which previously encouraged women in particular to only work a 16 hour a week otherwise their benefits would be cut. It also suited employers to employ part time workers as they did not have to pay NI. Certain sectors also wholeheartedly embrace the minimum wage because they knew the state would make good the difference in benefits. Until you get rid of the minimum wage and pay the real rate for the job and also sort out our ludicrous benefit system things are not going to change.

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    BG

    Thursday, September 13, 2012

  • I am a worker and have lived and worked in America also. Some of us are hard workers with good work ethics and I think it is rather naive to paint us all with the same brush, but overall I would agree with Ms Truss. I personally found that in America the work ethics were better and people have more ambition to take the next step up and be the best at what they do, however I am sure there are also American workers that do not have that mentality. Do you think part of the problem here is that everybody is treated equally regardless of the effort they put in? Even the children that lose the egg and spoon race are given a medal! Same with benefits, even those who don't work hard are still rewarded. The whole system does not allow people to be rewarded for working hard and you can earn millions by being a pop star or football player so why would this not be a more attractive option? As a nation we buy into this and all it teaches our children is that there are no consequences to their actions and no rewards for working hard, then we are surprised that the nation is full of people with a sense of entitlement. Let us not be shocked and whinge about it when we are told the harsh truth! I have hired many foreigners and in my experience they do work harder and longer hours than many British people are prepared to and then many of them send their wages home to support their families. Don't get mad, they are taking advantage of the situation that we as a nation have created. How many British people could afford to hand almost their whole wage to our parents and then work longer hours just so that we could scrape by and live in the manner that many of the foreigners do here? Not many. Let's not get annoyed when somebody tells us a few home truths!

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    Shanski

    Thursday, September 13, 2012

  • Why not Andy? Is it because it's so obviously left wing? The point Asato makes about Gt. Britains problems stemming from Downing St. is spot on - however it was the thirteen years of disastrous Blair & Broon, we are all having to pick up the tab for their destructive ineptitude.

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    Tudor Bushe

    Thursday, September 13, 2012

  • ***jayprime " It was caused by the grossly profligate Labour administration which wasted vast amounts of money, "*** The recession is the result of the collapse of the US sub-prime loan market . the collapse of the Euro and deregulation of the banking industry ( Which the appalling Truss was all in favour of ) .It will be news to the citizens of Greece that their economic problems were caused by Gordon Brown.

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    LARSON.E. WHIPSNADE

    Thursday, September 13, 2012

  • Out of touch, using all her attributes, she has the full Truss of her PM behind her, what else is there for a conservative woman who wants to move forward. gender balance? nowt to do with that...

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Friday, September 14, 2012

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