City Hall has come under pressure to shelve its four-day working week idea for council staff. 

The Taxpayers’ Alliance, a pressure group campaigning for reform of the tax system, is calling for Norwich City Council to “immediately” shelve its exploration of reduced working hours for staff while still providing the same pay. 

The proposal, which is in its very earliest stages, was put forward in an unopposed motion to the council at a meeting last week.

The motion resolved to “explore the benefits” of such a move “if based on evidence that this would ensure the performance and value of residents’ services were improved”. 

Several companies across the UK have been trialling four-day weeks - which see workers receive the same pay but work for one day fewer each week - including a fish and chip shop in Wells-next-the-Sea.

Those who support the schemes claim they have a positive impact on productivity and some of the firms have opted to make the arrangement permanent. 

But the Taxpayers’ Alliance has argued the scheme should never be implemented in the public sector. 

Elliot Keck, head of campaigns of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: “Local taxpayers are paying for a full-time council, and that’s what they expect to receive. 

“Town hall bosses should learn from the mistakes of South Cambridgeshire, where the local authority is lurching from scandal to scandal as it doubles down on its bonkers experiment.    

“Norwich council should shelve these plans immediately and guarantee a full-time council for local residents.” 

The Liberal Democrat South Cambridgeshire council - which is trialling the scheme - has come under scrutiny after it was discovered the authority's chief executive, Liz Watts, was writing about four day weeks for her PhD but had not declared it as an interest. 

That council's opposition Tory group also accused officials of having "artificially improved" the results of a written report, but officers insisted that changes had only been made to clear up confusing language.

Eastern Daily Press: Josh Worley, a city councillor for the Green groupJosh Worley, a city councillor for the Green group (Image: Newsquest)

The motion to City Hall was put forward by Green councillor Josh Worley, who said it was clear that Monday-Friday 9-5 working week does not fit with the modern age.

He argued that organisations which have undertaken four-day working weeks across a variety of sectors have sent increases in morale, staff satisfaction and productivity.

Norwich City Council was contacted for comment.

Joe Ryle, Director of the 4 Day Week Campaign, said: “A four-day week with no loss of pay improves productivity and wellbeing; benefiting staff, council leaders and taxpayers alike.

“Local councils trialling a four-day week such as South Cambridgeshire have forecast savings of over half a million pounds by improved job recruitment and retention.

“We back Norwich City Council's plans to explore a trial and will provide them with any support and advice they need."