The role of place in the UK’s productivity problem

How productivity varies across the country, and what this means for policy makers

Briefing published on 16 November 2017 by Paul Swinney and Anthony Breach


This briefing forms part of our series on the industrial strategy. It examines the geographical variation in productivity in British cities, and the implications this has for efforts to improve national productivity.

The UK’s poor productivity continues to be the source of a great deal of attention for economists, policy makers and commentators alike. Many theories have been put forward as to what is the cause of this poor performance, but one of the issues that has received relatively little attention in this debate is the geography of productivity.

The purpose of this briefing is to show the huge variation in productivity across the country, and what it means for both the Government’s Industrial Strategy and the Autumn Budget as they attempt to improve the country’s lacklustre productivity performance.



17-11-15 The role of place in the UK's productivity problem PDF (645 KB)

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