Press Releases

HISTORIC PRESS RELEASE : Gordon Brown and Patricia Hewitt welcome joint CBI/TUC work on productivity [October 2001]

The press release issued by HM Treasury on 29 October 2001.

Chancellor Gordon Brown and Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt today welcomed the four CBI and TUC reports into improving the UK’s productivity, and the proposal to create a permanent CBI-TUC Productivity Group.

Attached is the text of a letter from Chancellor Gordon Brown and Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt to Director General of the CBI Digby Jones and General Secretary of the TUC John Monks.


Digby Jones                                                                                      29 October 2001

John Monks

We are writing to thank you for your letter of 26 October and the final reports of the four joint working groups on productivity.  We are delighted that the CBI and the TUC have been able to work so successfully together on these challenging and important issues.

The UK’s productivity gap with our major competitors remains substantial.  US productivity is 42 per cent higher than that of the UK.  Productivity in France and Germany is 14 and 7 per cent higher respectively.

The reports have identified a whole range of substantial areas for action for employers, employees and Government.  It is through joint action and shared responsibility that together we will make progress closing the productivity gap.

For Government, the next step is the Pre-Budget Report, which will have as a central theme our continuing drive to tackle the productivity gap and to open enterprise for all.  The Pre-Budget Report will take forward proposals in a number of important areas the groups have identified.

But as you have stressed, the challenge is not for Government alone.  Building on the success of the work so far, we welcome your proposal to create a new, permanent, CBI-TUC Productivity Group.  This would meet on a regular basis to:

  • Monitor progress against the vision set out in the four working groups, as well as looking at further specific productivity issues, from time to time;
  • Comprise a small number of senior representatives of your respective organizations – you intend to draw upon other groups and specialists for particular issues such as the Regional Development Agencies, representatives from higher and further education etc; and
  • Meet us twice-yearly before the Budget and Pre-Budget Reports, jointly to review progress on the subjects under consideration by the Group, and to discuss a forward-looking agenda.
    We in turn would find it especially helpful to be able to use the Group as a sounding-board in consultation on policy development.

As we said in our joint statement in June, enterprise and productivity are central objectives for this Parliament.  Working together, we will be best placed to pursue our shared goals of high and stable levels of economic growth and prosperity for all.