Breckland Council is proposing to ensure that smokers who leave their office for fag breaks make up the time by clocking out and making up the time.

It's sounds a bit cumbersome (the Taxpayers Alliance suspect it might not increase productivity at all) and I suppose might bring an interesting grievance under the Human Rights Act from smokers as a persecuted minority.

Simon Clark of Forest asks what about  the non smokers who have coffee breaks or surf the internet on non-work related websites? Why pick on smokers?

On the other hand if staff don't like it they can always seek employment elsewhere.

Cllr William Nunn, Conservative leader of Breckland Council, says:

'It came about because the staff themselves felt there was an issue of fairness going on where some people went out for a smoke and some didn't. We want to make sure that there is parity among all of the staff. This will apply to everybody in the whole authority and will ensure there is some form of consistency.

'This is actually a case where we are taking a very pragmatic view and enhancing the lives of our staff, they themselves came forward and said they'd like a policy.

'It's absolutely nothing to do with money because they'll make up the hours lost in their own time.'