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Productivity gap at its widest 'since records began'

Productivity in the UK is now 20 per cent below the G7 average, according to the latest estimates for 2014 by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

This is the widest productivity gap since comparable estimates began in 1991, the ONS bulletin said.

For both measures of output per hour and output per worker, the UK is 20 per cent below the average for the rest of the major G7 advanced economies, it estimated.

Had output per hour in the UK continued to grow at the same rate before the 2007 downturn, it would currently be 18 per cent higher than it is now, compared to about 7 per cent for the rest of the G7, the ONS said.

UK output per worker was also estimated to be 41 percent below that of the US, the largest differential since this series began, the bulletin noted.

The need to improve

The productivity puzzle - the UK's longstanding underperformance in productivity - and how to solve it has become the focus of policy makers and other professional bodies lately.

In July the Government published a long-term plan for tackling productivity growth, centred on encouraging long-term investment and promoting a dynamic economy.

Acas has also called for renewed focus on workplace organisation and effectiveness, and improvements in employment relations that could build productivity.

In a report this year it identified seven 'levers' of workplace productivity - such as effective conflict management, high trust, strong employee voice, fairness, skilful managers, and well-designed work - that could make workplaces more harmonious and productive.

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Acas experts are on hand to come to your workplace and work with you on all aspects of employment relations to create a happier, more satisfied, more productive and more engaged workforce. See Workshops, projects and business solutions or call the customer services team on 0300 123 1150.

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