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Arctic expenditure: snow costs employers £318 million in lost productivity

25 January 2013

  • Brits missed 51.4 million working hours in the last week as a result of the bad weather
  • 19 per cent of people have been too afraid to drive in the icy and snowy conditions
  • Green Flag Breakdown reports it has seen call outs up 88 per cent compared to the same week last year

New research commissioned by Green Flag Breakdown reveals Brits have missed 51.4 million working hours in the last week as a result of the poor weather conditions. Over 8.5 million (18 per cent) British adults have been unable to work their contracted hours because of the adverse weather, costing employers an estimated £318 million.

The snow and icy conditions in the past week have kept almost one in five (19 per cent) people off the road because they were afraid of driving. A further 2.3 million (5 per cent) people tried to take to the roads but were unable to because of ice on the roads. Despite delays, public transport is seen as a safe refuge in bad weather with 12 per cent of people taking trains, tubes and buses instead of driving because they felt it was the safer option.

However, millions of people were attracted to the thrill of driving in the icy conditions, with 17 per cent of Brits claiming they enjoyed the challenge of navigating the roads in the past week. While a quarter (25 per cent) of men enjoyed the challenge of driving on icy roads just 8 per cent of women felt the same. Those driving for the ‘rush’ or challenge of navigating icy roads put themselves, their passengers, other road users and pedestrians at risk as a car that loses control, even at low speeds, can be involved in a serious accident.

Miranda Schunke, spokesperson for Green Flag, said: “It is not only the roads that have been frozen in the last week, for millions work commitments have been put on ice. Green Flag’s service personnel have been working round the clock to respond to record volumes of incidents, helping motorists that have found themselves in difficulty on the road. In future, we may see more drivers following the continental lead and investing in winter tyres and snow chains to help them cope with difficult driving conditions.”

Green Flag Breakdown reports it has seen call outs increase by an average of 88 per cent, compared to the same week last year, as the country remains in the grip of freezing weather conditions. On Tuesday 22nd January, incident volumes were 159 per cent higher than the same day last year. The extremely high demand for breakdown support highlights the risks faced by motorists who take to the roads in severe and icy conditions. The worst affected areas include Newcastle, Bristol, Monmouth, Brighton, Swindon, Basingstoke, Coventry, Leicestershire and Warwickshire. The company has witnessed a dramatic increase in call volumes in these areas from motorists stranded at the road side or unable to start their vehicles at home.

Over 3.8 million people have missed at least a full day of work in the last week alone as a result of the arctic weather conditions. Over 590,000 people missed at least two days of work in the last week.

Notes to editors

Vision Critical interviewed a representative sample of 2006 UK adults on 23rd January 2013. Results have been extrapolated up based on applying the percentage of UK adults in the nationally representative survey to the number of adults in the UK (48, 385,799).

Average working hours lost as a result of the bad weather (for those that were affected) =six
Number of people affected by the bad weather and who as a result missed time form work = 8,585,991
Hours lost from work = 51,430,086 (6*8,585,991)
Based on people being just the minimum wage, cost in wasted hours = £318,352,232 (51,430,086 hours lost * min wage 6.19)

For further information or to arrange an interview please contact:

Miranda Schunke
Green Flag Press Office
Tel: 0208 266 3795
Mobile: 07766 472 690

Ewan Robertson
Citigate Dewe Rogerson
Tel: 0207 282 2981