Car production line 

New figures revealing a stark divide in productivity between the South East and other UK regions show the need for a broader plan to raise productivity. 


Today the ONS published new evidence highlighting a regional divide in the UK’s productivity. It confirms that London and the South East continue to power ahead, leaving other regions in their wake.

The data also showed that more people are employed in sectors with lower productivity, challenging the view that we must focus our attention on high-growth sectors of the economy. In addition, some of our leading industries – such as telecommunications, finance and manufacturing – have shown a slowdown in measured productivity growth.

Today, Be the Business is calling on British businesses to make small changes to help boost UK productivity, and will work with a number of regions in 2018 to develop business-led plans to improve productivity.

Tony Danker, Chief Executive of Be the Business said“Today’s ONS statistics further emphasise that tackling low productivity is the central economic challenge facing UK business and government. It demonstrates the need for a far broader drive for productivity improvement. The gap between the South East and many regions of the country is widening and this affects our national prosperity. We need regional coalitions of business leaders to tackle our productivity underperformance, from Cornwall, to South Yorkshire to the North West of England.  Today’s figures also show increasing employment in sectors that most productivity oriented policy is failing to address, which must be tackled if we are to improve the prosperity of the vast majority of people in this country. Our efforts to improve growth need to be rooted in supporting leaders of every single business in the country to unlock their firm’s potential. Because even small changes can make a real difference to a business’s performance. After 10 years of flatlining productivity, Britain now needs ten years of outperformance to compete in a post-Brexit global economy. ”

Another way productivity can increase in the region is via entrepreneurial activity, which is indeed picking up outside of the UK; this is why Fresh Business Thinking’s parent company is organising The Great British Entrepreneur Awards across the UK.