Headlines: December 14th, 1999

New figures show that the UK economy may be healthy, but that to achieve it, its citizens need to work harder than their European counterparts.”UK Competitiveness Indicators 1999″ shows that on average we work more hours than most of our competitors, but national income per head is still almost one fifth lower than the average of the top seven industrial nations.

The report breaks new ground by providing a systematic assessment of the UK as a knowledge-driven economy, following a commitment to do this in last year’s Competitiveness White Paper.

It concludes that the prospects for economic stability are improving, that the UK is eager and open to international trade and investment, with a well-functioning labour force.

It also condemns the lack of commitment and leadership in UK firms when it comes to innovation, and poor basic skills among some workers.

The consumer also comes in for criticism, for being generally less demanding than in other countries at similar income levels.

“UK Competitiveness Indicators 1999” is available from the DTI website at: http://www.dti.gov.uk/comp/competitive/