The Government’S Productivity Plan

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:04 pm on 28th February 2017.

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Photo of Iain Wright Iain Wright Chair, Education, Skills and the Economy Sub-Committee, Chair, Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee 2:04 pm, 28th February 2017

One of the weaknesses of government—this is based not on the colour of Administrations but on the nature and culture of Whitehall—is that it is silo-based. The lack of co-ordination is clear. In the modern age, with pressing economic challenges, we need greater monitoring, scrutiny, supervision and co-ordination across the Government.

It would be interesting to hear about the current status of the productivity plan because, as I said, it seems so 2015. It was intensely fashionable, but only for around 12 months. The new buzz phrase is “industrial strategy.” The strategy contains 12 pillars, as opposed to the 15 areas of the productivity plan, so we are seeing some efficiency. I welcome the Government’s willingness to embrace the phrase as a potentially positive thing, but it exemplifies one of the problems that we face. Successive Governments have tended to announce something, to provide a new initiative or to undertake a review. Policy flits like a butterfly from one thing to the next, with little if any meaningful impact on the ground on firms’ productivity or our constituents’ living standards, which is to the detriment of long-term economic competitiveness.