Celebrity chef Raymond Blanc has urged Britons not to follow his French countrymen into adopting a 35-hour working week.

The owner of Michelin-starred Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons in Great Milton, who started his career as a dish washer, said this could hit the UK's hard-working culture and destroy 'the spirit of the entrepreneur'.

France’s 35-hour work week policy was introduced by the Socialist Party in 1998 to reduce record unemployment and remains divisive.

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Many argue it’s behind France’s high productivity but others, including French president Emmanuel Macron, say it has done nothing to reduce unemployment and does not serve its purpose.

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"It is a nightmare because we completely murdered the sanctity of work and killed the spirit of the entrepreneur," M Blanc said at a Royal Ascot fine dining event last week. 

"It's really killed our craft in many ways, whereas England embraces liberalism and 48 hours and plus you can sign a piece of paper and you can work 50. Now it's over."

And he said the pandemic - during which he was admitted to hospital with Covid - had changed people's attitudes to work and while this could 'revolutionise' the notoriously overworked kitchen culture, it could easily go too far.

But M Blanc, 72, added there was a 'fantastic opportunity' for the industry to reinvent itself and abandon 'cruel' practices such as split shifts, said the Daily Mail.


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