Back in the summer, the Local Enterprise Partnership explained in some detail how it would 'tackle the productivity puzzle':
Futures Forum: Heart of the South West LEP says that the right skills are vital to economic productivity
The issue being that this particular LEP oversees an area of the UK with extremely low productivity:
Futures Forum: "A staggering 50,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost in the South West in a decade." Which is not surprising, as "the LEP area ranks 32nd out of 39 LEP areas in England for the level of productivity."
A problem might be that the members of the LEP are not part of the Small and Medium-sized Enterprise economy.
And yet Devon has a very high concentration of small businesses - and their importance to the local economy is paramount - although you wouldn't think so:
Futures Forum: "Statistics show us that small and medium-size businesses (including those in tourism) are our life blood." (2013)
Futures Forum: East Devon, the retail sector and questions about job creation: "How we can help meet the needs of business into the future in a world of enterprise and entrepreneurism..." (2014)
Futures Forum: In defence of Sidmouth's independent businesses (2015)
Futures Forum: SMEs, self employment and the sharing economy (2015)
Futures Forum: Corporation tax, small towns and small businesses >>> giving SMEs the same 'level playing field' as multinationals (2016)
Futures Forum: "99% of East Devon's businesses are either micro or small enterprises" >>> Will the District Council be giving them 'discretionary relief' against business rate increases? (2017)
Another problem might be that members of the LEP are more interested in property and Hinkley - which raises further questions:
Futures Forum: The Local Enterprise Partnership in Devon, conflicts of interest and calculating "housing need"
And it is on the basis of this that the LEP is promising unbelievable amounts of 'growth in productivity':
Futures Forum: Devolution proposals for Devon and Somerset >>> "focusing on delivering improved productivity" or "an unelected, one-party combined authority"?
Futures Forum: The 'vision' of higher productivity and economic growth in Devon "bears little relation to reality"
Today, the East Devon Watch blog has been delving into these matters:
CAN PRODUCTIVITY AND GROWTH BE INCREASED OUTSIDE THE SOUTH EAST EXCEPT FOR HINKLEY C?
16 NOV 2017
Our Local Enterprise Partnership’s draft economic strategy is making enormous claims about how much it will increase productivity in Devon and Somerset – its predictions outstripping those of historic precedent and some of the most productive areas of the UK. This in spite of our ageing population and the effects of austerity on skills and training (our LEP’s investment in this sector appears to be limited to training only for Hinkley C nuclear plant).
Our councillors might well examine our LEPs claims with some disquiet:
“… Cities such as Stoke, Blackburn, Mansfield and Doncaster had productivity 25% below the national average, the Centre for Cities said. Raising all parts of the UK to the national productivity average would increase the size of the economy by £203bn – equivalent to Birmingham’s output four times over.
The report showed that cities outside the greater south-east had weaker productivity because they were failing to secure the higher-skilled work of productive sectors and firms.
“Firms choose to locate their high-skilled operations in cities which can offer them access to a high-skilled workforce and other relevant businesses, and will base lower value components in places where land and labour is cheaper,” the think tank said.
Can productivity and growth be increased outside the South East except for Hinkley C? | East Devon Watch
With the full piece from today's Guardian:
Poor productivity outside south-east England hurting UK economy | Business | The Guardian
And more from today's East Devon Watch:
MORE PAIN FOR OUR LEP’S “PRODUCTIVITY STRATEGY”
16 NOV 2017
Office for Budget Responsibility downgrades its productivity growth targets.
Will our councillors on the “Joint Committee” with our LEP show similar responsibility?
“… The Office for National Statistics reported last week that the UK’s level of productivity fell 0.3 per cent in the three months to June, meaning that the national output per hour worked is below where it was in the final quarter of 2007, almost a decade ago.
The OBR said that the recent productivity fall was “almost certainly” exacerbated by the impact of the 2016 Brexit vote, but it added that the weakness in productivity since the financial crisis was a global phenomenon too.
The OBR had projected in March that UK productivity would grow by 1.6 per cent in 2017, by 1.5 per cent in 2018, by 1.7 per cent in 2019, and 1.8 per cent in 2020.
“It no longer seems central to assume that productivity growth will recover to the 1.8 per cent we assumed in March 2017 within five years,” the OBR said on Tuesday. We expect to lower our forecast for cumulative potential productivity growth significantly over the next five years, without going so far as to assume that there is no recovery at all from the very weak performance of recent years.”
More pain for our LEP’s “productivity strategy” | East Devon Watch
With the full piece from the Independent:
Official Treasury forecaster slashes UK productivity growth forecast, signalling hole in public finances for November Budget | The Independent
And to finish, a final comment from East Devon Watch:
OUR LOCAL LEPS: DO THEY KNOW SOMETHING NOBODY ELSE IN WESTERN EUROPE KNOWS?
16 NOV 2017
The plan to double our regional economy in 18 years is indeed very ambitious.
Not a single OECD country out of 35 is predicted, by the OECD, to double its economy in 20 years, let alone 18 years, so Devon and Somerset will be doing remarkably well!
The UK is not predicted to double its economy in FORTY years, nor is the United States or the Eurozone.
The basis for Great South West predicting we will comfortably outperform the rest of the Western world appears to be the cleverness of the people at Great South West…
Our local LEPs: do they know something nobody else in western Europe knows? | East Devon Watch
This is all in the context of 'devolution':
Futures Forum: The picture of 'devolution' in the South West gets murkier