Wednesday 30 January 2013 7:57 pm

Economists warn poor standard of British schools will hurt GDP

A GROUP of economists will today urge the government to radically improve educational standards at British schools, arguing that reforms are key to the country’s long-term prosperity. The London School of Economics (LSE) growth commission will also hit out at UK governments’ poor record over infrastructure. “Political procrastination and the absence of a strategic framework have created ‘policy risk’, which deters investors from making long-term commitments,” the report said, attacking the planning system. “Decisions are rarely based on the best evidence and the planning system does not properly share the benefits of development, so that people who are adversely affected by new developments do not receive compensation and have little incentive to support them.” The LSE panel includes former Bank of England deputy governor Rachel Lomax, and is co-chaired by fellow ex-Bank official Tim Besley. It will argue that the standard of compulsory schooling in the UK is “a fundamental growth issue”. “Increasing UK school standards even moderately could put the country on a growth path that would more than double long-run average incomes,” it says. HOW TO BOOST GROWTH LSE group’s recommendations: • Better teachers • Greater autonomy for schools • More apprenticeships • A so-called infrastructure bank to boost funding for projects • More competition in retail banking • Business bank that prioritises lending to SMEs and innovative firms