On Wednesday night the Chancellor visited a Warburtons bakery, a road works project on the M6 and a Tesco distribution centre, to see the important role of the 24 hour economy in driving growth.
Visiting a Warburtons Bakery in Wednesbury, the Chancellor was able to see first-hand how production and deliveries continue throughout the night.
Around 10% of UK employees, over 2.5 million people, work night shifts on a regular basis.
The sectors with the highest number of night shift workers are public services (particularly health and social work); distribution, hotels and restaurants; transport and communication; and manufacturing.
Speaking at the bakery, the Chancellor said:
Millions of people work late shifts and nights up and down the country, keeping businesses and services running when most of us are asleep. These are hardworking people doing vital jobs, from factory shifts to construction teams on our roads to those working in our essential public services.
They are the unsung heroes of the British economy and we are determined that they benefit from our economic plan as we move from rescue to recovery.
The 24 hour economy in the UK is growing, with over half a million more people regularly working nights in 2012 than in 2002. In 2009 the night time economy was estimated to be worth £66bn.
At Junction 7 of the M6, the Chancellor’s second pit stop on his tour of the 24 hour economy, he met with shift workers installing technology to sections of the road that will allow the Highways Agency to better control traffic.
These works, announced in the 2010 spending review, will contribute towards the M6 becoming a “managed motorway” between junctions 5 and 8, including M5 link roads.
This will relieve congestion and smooth the flow of the traffic, improving safety and reducing journey times. These benefits will also support economic development in the region.
There will be many more projects like this over the next few years, following announcements at this year’s spending round.
On his final visit of the night, the Chancellor saw rail delivery trucks loaded and unloaded at the Tesco Daventry grocery depot and Daventry International rail freight terminal.