Economists urge UK to work smarter

 
Julian Harris
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WORKING smarter would boost the UK economy by up to £52bn, adding 455,000 jobs, according to a study released this morning by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR).

The UK has room for improvement when it comes to good management practices, the report reveals, with public sector industries particularly culpable.

In a ranking of sectors, education comes bottom with a score of just three out of 10, while “public administration, defence and social security” is second bottom with five out of 10, and health and social work is third from bottom on six out of 10.

“The UK can boost its economy hugely by focusing on increasing the quality of the processes used to produce all goods and services,” the CEBR said.

So-called quality management techniques already add £90bn, or six per cent of GDP, to the UK economy, the group’s analysts have calculated.

Despite public sector areas faring worst in the analysis, improvements in the UK’s biggest sector – services – could provide the strongest shot in the arm for the economy.

Better quality management practices in the service sector, including finance and related businesses, would add £12bn a year to UK GDP, estimates show.

“If businesses and the public sector redoubled their efforts to close the ‘quality gap’, this could go some way to pulling the UK out of recession,” the CEBR said. “In particular, improving the quality of public service delivery could protect frontline services while tackling the deficit.”

Emerging economies are benefiting from improved quality management combined with lower costs, the report said.