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UK Competitiveness

Volume 464: debated on Thursday 11 October 2007

The key to continued long-term improvements in UK competitiveness and productivity will be maintaining the remarkable new stability that has characterised the British economy over the past decade. We will need to continue to build on that foundation, for example, as the Chancellor announced on Tuesday, with continued investment in higher education and skills, in infrastructure and in the science base.

That statement does not match the facts. The Institute of Management and Development, which ranks international competitiveness, ranked Britain ninth in 1997. It now ranks Britain as 20th in its index. Who is to blame?

The most recent ranking that I have seen is the one referred to by the Minister for Employment Relations and Postal Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-East (Mr. McFadden), from the World Bank. It ranks the UK sixth out of 178 countries. The latest global competition review ranks the Competition Commission joint first in the world. The new stability that we have secured is the key to that. We used to be the least stable country in the G7 on the inflation measure. Since 1997, we have been the most stable. That is the key to Britain’s new prosperity and to the huge improvements in the economy over the past decade—we are determined to maintain that.