Parliament – Benchmark sees mixed picture

The President of the Board of Trade, Margaret Beckett, has published a Department of Trade & Industry benchmark of British business performance against overseas competitors.

The benchmark builds on earlier competitiveness initiative work and reviews performance across the economy. It includes in-depth studies of seven business sectors – automotive components, chemicals, printing, retailing, semiconductors, telecommunications services and textiles, clothing and footwear.

Beckett said that the benchmark reveals a mixed picture. “We’ve got some excellent firms, among the very best in the world, but our overall performance on several counts – innovation, skills, productivity – remains behind that of other developed economies.”

The benchmark identifies the following weaknesses:

– Relatively low levels of investment.

– A failure of SMEs with growth potential to succeed.

– A failure by too many businesses to adopt best practice.

– Low level of skills.

– Weakness in exploiting export markets.

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