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2007 OECD Economic Surveys: United Kingdom 2007

image of OECD Economic Surveys: United Kingdom 2007

This 2007 edition of OECD's periodic economic survey of the British economy finds that the UK has embraced globalisation and has been rewarded with strong growth and performance, but that the near-term outlook is more uncertain, given recent financial market turbulence. Among other issues, it looks at key challenges including globalisation, raising educational achievement, improving work prospects for the least skilled, the productivity gap, and tax competition.

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Improving work prospects for the least skilled

The United Kingdom has had a good record of job creation over the past two decades with the aggregate unemployment rate and related expenditures falling, and employment rates at close to record levels. Although most disadvantaged groups including older workers, lone parents and ethnic minorities have enjoyed significant improvements over the past decade, unqualified workers and younger people continue to fare less well. Moreover, while it has reduced significantly in recent years, there is still a considerable flow of people, including prime working age males, into disability benefits. The government has taken a number of positive steps to address these issues including tightening eligibility criteria, offering income supplements and providing personalised counselling. However more could be done, particularly in the area of skills training both prior to employment and while in employment, and in tackling distortions in work incentives that arise from the high cost of child care and through the interface of the tax and social security systems.

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