Welcome to our blog

Thank Fathom it’s Friday

A sideways look at economics

Will UK productivity ever improve?

16 April 2021|

After working in the Productivity & Structural Reform team at HM Treasury some years ago as a very junior economist, the fascinating subject of productivity has always remained dear to my heart. Back then under the Labour government, a key mission of the team was to close the UK’s yawning 45%[1] productivity gap with the US economy, and the smaller deficits with some of our European peers. After a period when UK productivity grew at a healthy pace of over 2% per annum during the 1990s, it was often stated that if this could be raised by just a few tenths of a percentage point, the future benefits would be significant. The initial omens were pretty good, with the UK outperforming many of its peers in the run up to the Great Financial Crisis (GFC) and broadly matching the performance of the US.