Opening council offices at Christmas lowers staff morale, it is claimed.

Maldon District Council shuts early at 12.30pm on Christmas Eve, is not open on Christmas Day, Boxing Day or New Year’s Day, and opens on the following three days with a skeleton staff.

In a report, Peter Wyatt, head of organisational development, asked councillors to consider making it permanent but added: “It should be also be noted that there are some staff who feel strongly that the council should shut at Christmas and cite Christmas opening as a cause of lowered staff morale.

“At the last staff survey held in January 2013, there were 22 references to changing arrangements for Christmas, 20 of which advocated closing the offices (178 staff completed the survey, making a total of 1,242 comments).”

Councillors have been asked to adopt the Christmas closure policy next month.