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Question for Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

UIN HL12192, tabled on 11 December 2018

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of analysis by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development that the productivity gap between the UK and other developed countries is less than previously thought.

Answered on

19 December 2018

This analysis is a welcome initiative by the OECD to improve the international comparability of productivity statistics. It was initiated in response to a request from the ONS to examine how different countries go about measuring total hours worked (which are required to calculate output per hour worked).

When calculating labour productivity there is a trade-off between using the best available data sourced from different countries’ national accounts, or data compiled on the most consistent basis. The OECD research finds that while for many countries this choice makes a minor difference, for the UK it has a larger effect and improves our performance relative to other countries.

The ONS is examining how best to incorporate these findings into their international comparisons of labour productivity and plans to publish an article on this in January 2019; including more detailed breakdowns of how the UK compares with other developed countries on a more consistent basis.