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OECD Economic Surveys: United Kingdom 2017

image of OECD Economic Surveys: United Kingdom 2017

After a good performance until 2016, growth slowed in the first half of 2017. The unemployment rate has fallen to below 4.5%, but real wages are in a downward trend. Planned Brexit has raised uncertainty and dented business investment. Negotiating the closest possible EU-UK economic relationship would limit the cost of exit. The authorities should allow automatic stabilisers to work and identify in advance productivity-enhancing fiscal initiatives on investment, to be implemented rapidly were growth to weaken significantly in the run-up to Brexit, while safeguarding fiscal sustainability. Comprehensive policy packages should boost the productivity of lagging regions and cities, which requires local transport investments to foster connectivity, spending on research and development to raise innovation, housing investments to ease the matching of skills to jobs, and greater educational attainment and training tailored to business needs. Enhancing teachers’ training and other incentives, in particular in disadvantaged schools, would address teacher shortages and improve skills. Low-skilled workers participate less in lifelong learning and introducing targeted re-training programmes would boost competencies more broadly. Tax and regulatory reforms of non-standard forms of employment would offset workers’ weaker bargaining power and ensure better job quality.

SPECIAL FEATURES: REGIONAL PRODUCTIVITY; PRODUCTIVITY OF LOW-SKILLED WORKERS

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Most transport infrastructure investment is concentrated in London

2015/16

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