"Britain’s poor productivity performance before, during and after the financial crisis of a decade ago has left a gap of 16% with the other six members of the G7 group of industrial nations. International comparisons published by the Office for National Statistics show that output per hour worked continued to lag well behind the US, Germany and France in 2015 – the last year for which data is available"
Article in Guardian.
Oh dear. The entire concept of "productivity" is dubious. If it applicable anywhere, then it is within manufacturing industry
where sub-optimal productivity can be due to factors such as wastage, defective work which has to be rectified,
poor design, poor organisation of the workflow, time kept waiting for
components or raw materials to arrive, or obsolescent equipment. These
are management issues, and there is certainly still tendency in British
industry for the managers not to talk to the lower orders - the people
who are working in the front line; handing down orders from on high,
they stay in their offices and fail to grasp the nature of the tasks
they are managing.
There are many occupations, however, where there is little or no
scope for increases in productivity. Assuming that their work timetable
does not result in a waste of staff time, how could a bus driver or a
train driver or a nurse or a surgeon become more productive?
Statistics can aggregate that which should not be aggregated, to the
point that they may be meaningless. There may be, and probably is, a
problem with UK productivity, but raw figures like these are best taken
with a pinch of salt.
We should also not forget that an item at the factory gate in the UK
is worth less than the same item at the factory gate in Germany, simply
because the German factory has around 400 million potential customers to
whom it can be delivered in a door-to-door run, whereas in the UK,
there are 60 million customers, but the other 400 million are on the
other side of a strip of water which has to be crossed.
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