"Working Time Regulations: Calling Time on Working Time, claimed that three-quarters of long-hours workers do so out of choice."
No, I think hardly anyone "chooses" to work such long hours, they just feel they have to. More companies than ever are getting rid of overtime pay now also, so it's not really as if people are doing it for the money now. It's a case of feeling that if they don't do these hours they'll get sacked, it's all very well saying there's no negative comeback allowed if you opt out of the maximum working hour agreement, but we all know that for example, when it comes to promotion time, someone that does opt-out is going to be disadvantaged against someone that doesn't, even if no one officially says so.
There is never any need for someone to work more than 48hrs, all that suggests is that a company is understaffed, that is, trying to do the job on the cheap by pushing the burden of their lack of will to invest in more staff onto the existing workers.