Unlocking higher regional productivity could add £208bn to the UK economy as a whole over the next decade, according to the latest research from business group the CBI.
The figure represents a 10% increase in the sixe of the economy and should be a major part of the drive to tackle inequality at a time of real concern about living standards and wages the CBI says.
‘Unlocking Regional Growth’ says some parts of the UK have seen world-class productivity gains, while at the same time too many towns and regions have been left behind, limiting opportunities for millions of families across the country.
Launched at the Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry, the report draws on special access to ONS data to identify the four main drivers of regional productivity differences across the UK:
:: Educational attainment of young people at 16 and skills
:: Transport links that widen access to labour
:: Improved management practices
:: Higher proportion of firms that innovate and export.
At the local level, the Executive’s draft Programme for Government sets out how they intend to pursue the creation of a strong, competitive, regionally balanced economy.
Although widely recognised, this latest CBI study reveals that the Northern Ireland economy is 37.4% less productive than the UK’s most productive region - London.
“Raising productivity across Northern Ireland will lead to stronger economic growth which is vital to improving the wellbeing and prosperity of all our citizens,” said CBI Northern Ireland director Angela McGowan.
“Unlocking Regional Growth could not have come at a better time – this report sets out a clear roadmap of evidence based measures which can be used to improve Northern Ireland’s productivity and guide us through the significant challenges ahead.”
The latest draft Programme for Government and the forthcoming Economic Strategy will set the direction and tone of the economy for years to come.
Stating that the CBI was keen to collaborate with the Department of the Economy in an effort to inform and improve regional economic policy Ms McGowan added: “Only when business and the Executive positively collaborate can we create a strong, competitive, regionally balanced economy that delivers greater prosperity and more sustainable jobs”