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Be the Business: Greater productivity can grow the UK economy by £94 billion

Anthony Impey

UK productivity data published by the Office for National Statistics today showed that growth in output per hour worked for April to June 2023 was up 0.1% compared with the same quarter a year ago, and 1.4% above its pre-COVID-19 level. 

Responding to these figures, Anthony Impey, CEO of Be the Business, an independent charity that inspires greater business productivity, said: 

“As the ONS data continues to demonstrate, the UK is struggling to make meaningful productivity gains. The implications of this are huge. Productivity is the single biggest determinant of living standards: the UK’s flatlined productivity has enormous implications for all of us. 

“Righting our productivity record will be a challenge, but it is not impossible. Recent data gathered by Be the Business revealed that maintaining a 1% annual improvement in SME productivity over five years would grow the UK economy by £94bn, equivalent to over half the annual budget of NHS England.  

“This improvement would also add an average of an extra £65,000 in additional profit annually for every small business. It’s an opportunity we can’t afford to miss.” 

A recent report from Be the Business compares the productivity of SMEs in G7 countries. It finds that UK businesses are under-indexing on performance, and investment and improvement in capabilities linked to productivity. However, small business leaders in the UK showed high confidence and a positive outlook, ranking fourth on confidence overall, despite a lack of activity across key capability areas including management skills, HR and operational efficiency.     

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